I think of myself as a good judge of character. I usually trust my gut and can often feel when something isn’t right. If something doesn’t make sense, I question it. While I generally trust people and look for the good in them, I am also skeptical. I am not easily fooled.
But he did it. He spun plausible stories, so even when his explanations were a tad over the top they seemed believable. He even admitted things sounded crazy. His voice was so convincing, I decided he would have to be a very good actor if what he was telling me wasn’t true.
He was. It turned out he was a practiced liar. So much so, his family members repeatedly encouraged him to get psychological help.
How do I know? After talking to him daily for nearly a month, going out on a few dates and his expressing his deep connection to me, I didn’t hear from him for a few weeks. The last time we spoke he said he’d call me back in an hour. He didn’t. I became concerned about him. A week before that last conversation, he’d totaled his car and was in the hospital for a few days. I was worried that he might have had a complication and was back in the hospital.
I left him a few voice mails and emails trying to see if he was okay. When I didn’t hear back, I imagined him in a hospital bed. I knew where his sister worked, so finally braved calling her to see if he was all right. She was sympathetic and helpful.
“My brother is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. But he is not all that he has led you to believe.”
“What do you mean?”
“He embellishes and fabricates.”
“He lies?” I wasn’t surprised, just wanted to confirm.
We went through the things he had told me. Some were true, others weren’t, and some she wasn’t sure about. Yes, he owned a Lexus as he told me, but she didn’t know about the other car he supposedly rolled. She hadn’t heard he had been in accident in the last month, even though they talked just last week. She confirmed he wasn’t married and didn’t have a girlfriend. When I asked what he really did for a living, she said what he told me is what he had told their mother, but they weren’t really sure. Yes, the story he shared about his past girlfriend was true. But the cousin he told me died in his arms was still alive. And she had no knowledge of his being offered or taking a job out of state.
He is really eleven years younger than he told me. Instead of his being seven years older than she, he is really three.
I shared with her, “I found a listing on the Internet in his name in his town for a driver’s license suspension in 2004. He denied it was him.”
“That was him.”
“Odd thing to lie about.”
The things he lied about were strange. People usually lie to get out of something and/or to present themselves as someone they aren’t. So why would he lie about his cousin’s death and the age difference between him and his sister? I can see why he might lie about the job, but he spun an elaborate tale about that.
“My mother, father and I have all told him he needs to get psychological help for his lying. He hasn’t sought any. He learned to lie at an early age as a way to survive in our tough childhood neighborhood. Now there’s no reason to lie, but he still does it. We don’t know if he’s bored and this makes life more interesting, or why he does it. We don’t believe most of what he tells us until we have proof.”
While I felt foolish to be duped, I was actually relieved to get answers. I like mystery movies and when the riddle isn’t solved cogently, it’s unsettling. My feelings for this man had dissipated but I wanted to close the book having some questions resolved. Don’t we wish every man who says or does something that doesn’t make sense had such a forthcoming sister to tell us the truth?
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