The call came in after we'd just come in.
It wasn't late but we'd had a long day. All we wanted was to relax after driving in the rain for most of the day. Bone tired. My phone rang and the number wasn't familiar. The effects of a recent factory resetting. I answered with trepidation. I didn't know who would be on the other end and was avoiding a number of people. A familiar voice came on. Relief. She wasn't on the list of people being avoided.
"Hey Brian...," her voice came on rather shakily.
I sat up. Keenly paying attention. The conversation was short. She wanted to know if I was with a mutual friend. I answered in the affirmative.
I passed it on and waited. The upshot of it was that she was in trouble. And we needed to get back to town. FAST.The details were sketchy but the broad strokes were that she was in a matatu travelling into the city from Nakuru and had started bleeding. I found this out while my foot was mashing the accelerator while we tore down the rain swept highway. We were in town within minutes. We found her in a dark lit street, leaning against a wall, tears on her face and blood trickling down her legs. Hugs were exchanged. "It's gonna be ok." was whispered. Then back in the car and off to the hospital. Weeks earlier she had had an abortion. Her chicken were coming home to roost.
We all have that friend. The ones that always seem to get themselves into one situation before they even untangle themselves from the previous one. We love her to death. But she always has us shaking our heads. In anger. In bemusement. And at times, in resignation. The truth can be told in fifty different ways depending on the time, day, her recollection or her needs at that point in time. But then at the end of the day our friendship counts above anything else.
Hours later we drove back home after a procedure at the hospital and dropping her off at home and making sure she was ok. A discussion came up. The usual discussion. Why is she always in so much trouble? Why can't she be normal like the rest of us? An interesting angle to the discussion came up. Maybe she was the most honest of us all after all. Her laundry was always out there for us to see. Her lies were always uncovered ultimately. The rest of us had layers upon layers of dirt that we hid away int his pursuit at normalcy.
The stories she tells read rather sadly. She paints a picture of her family that we dread. Of friends that are never there for her. Of life dealing her a really bad hand of cards. And she has been sold into this narrative. She believes her own lies. The line between the truth and a fib hasn't become blurry. It has disappeared altogether.
This whole growing up thing gets harder. More complicated. The things we have to tell each other and ourselves so we can function. The lies that we have to tell our friends and family so they can retain the mental image they have of us. I happened to tune in to "Moment of Truth" the other day and the questions were absolutely scary. Thinking through it I figured out that the questions weren't necessary difficult because they would expose the truth but rather because for many of us the truth is what we want it when we want it. The truth is contained in that iconic scene from 'A Few Good Men.' YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!