• Amelie Dalporto

I Get Paid for Vaccinating

I walked briskly down the street, the pale gray pavement cowering under the sun. My voice is cheerful, my posture strong. My coffee brown hair was slicked tightly back, sharp like the sting of caffeine. My shapeless black pants fit to my legs, and a flowing sweater follows my every move, mimicking me just as my shadow does as we stride in unison. I walk as though I have somewhere to be; I have nowhere to be. My voice rings clear in the open air. It was mine, but the words I spoke echoed inside my head as unfamiliar and alien. I held a phone encased in a mint green covering tightly in my hand, and as I talked, I could feel myself slipping away,; falling again into this trancse that I could never awake from. With every word, I descended into my own misery and spiraled down into a hole I have dug with my own narratives. Would it ever end? “Ya like, every vaccine I get, I get paid!” “Wow!” started the person on the other side of the line. I had forgotten who I had been talking so voraciously to, but their enthusiasm fueled my words as they twisted like my fingers clenched in fists of anguish.

My name is Ariana. I began lying years ago. I remember it first started with simple hyperboles, inflating the meaning of a word, tugging at others' curiosity and gaining their interest. Growing up, I was a shy and quiet girl. I hid in the corner finding comfort in knowing that the two walls behind me were sturdy and secure, lacking in judgment or a mind of their own. I felt protective over my own words and stories, fearing that if they were judged, their meaning would dissipate. However, as I grew older, I began to realize that if I shift my stories just enough, they no longer become so tied to my heart; they are no longer mine. Since I came to this conclusion, I continued to lie and lie, and I have been able to talk to anyone. I can relate to anyone. Why be myself when I could be whoever I wanted to be; when I could be whoever others wanted me to be? But I have since been lost in the corridors of my deceptions, for everyone I meet believes I’m a different person.

For instance, my friend Cameron believes I’m a chef. My friend Sam believes I’m an actress,; the lead of a musical. I might be so bold to call them the friends of my falsehoods. If they only knew, I might even call them the victims of my fibs. After all, I have willingly strung these people along, their emotions unwillingly placed in my hands. I spoke to Cameron this morning, his eyes as blue as the ocean, his hair the sea foam, frothing with joy, and gave him a recipe, (one that I had supposedly used all my life). It consisted of spices of great intensity, a little chile here, some jalapenos there, and the ripple began. Cameron then told his girlfriend, and she will inevitably carry on my lie. If their mouths burn I will feel the blows. Sam is auditioning for a musical. I said I would put in a word for him; I can’t put in a word for him. Callbacks are announced today. If he flounders, his untamed mane of auburn streaks will bow in shame, and I will feel the blows. I will always feel the blows. And meanwhile, I pass on another lie to the phone. The receiver on the other side will run with the ball, and yet, I continue to talk.