Perception Management

“I didn’t do it.”

He did.

“I didn’t pull her hair.”

But he had.

“I’m not lying!”

His child’s face red with bluster as he lied.

“Why is she crying then? Why are there long blonde hairs wrapped around your fingers like a gold necklace torn from the chest of a debutante robbed in a poorly lit alley with steam rising menacingly from its manholes.” I said to him, except for the part about the necklace and manholes because he is only nine.

“I already told you. It wasn’t me.”

“Then who was it? Who pulled her hair and made her cry?”

“It was you. You pulled her hair. You made her cry.”

“What? No, it wasn’t me. It was you. I watched you do it!” I said, clumsily, confusingly switching from offence to defence.

“What! No, I watched you do it! Right?” He nudged the young girl with damp eyes. She said nothing, her small face streaked with tears and snot.

“Remember when he did that to you?” He asked again.

“I don’t know. I can’t remember.” She squeaked after receiving another elbow to the ribs.

“Well, it was him. Trust me. Don’t believe anything he says. He just wants to pull your hair again, he wants your long blonde hair wrapped around his fingers like a gold necklace torn from the chest of a debutante robbed in a poorly lit alley with steam rising menacingly from its manholes.”

Perplexed, I said nothing.

“Why?” She asked, voice wavering. “Why did you pull my hair and make me cry?”

“I didn’t––

––Lies!”

“It hurt so much!”

“You’re a monster!”

“I didn’t!”

“Don’t even, pal!”

“Give me my hair back!”

“Give her her hair back!”

“I don’t have it! I don’t have it.”

He takes my hand with his small hand and opens it, unraveling the long blonde hairs from his fingers and winding them around my own.

“Give them back!”

“Now!”

I take the hair from my hand and place it back on her head.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

“Too little too late, pal.” He says.

“Too little too late, pal.” She says.