An Unforgettable Lie

I was around 11. There was a pattern of our family’s Christmas party those days.

The party always started after dinner. First, an opening speech which my sister always made. After that, we sang a couple of Christmas songs with my piano all together, exchange Christmas gifts each other, and eat Christmas cake and chat. Then, we played some games until 10 or 11 o’clock which was late-night for children. Just staying up late was thrilling for my sister and me. It was a special night.

What I’d like to tell you today happened in one of our Christmas party.

I had bought Christmas gifts for each member of my family in advance. The Exchanging time was my favorite. I was glad to see their faces when they opened my gifts. Since I was a small child, usually I gave them hand-made small dolls or paper flowers, something like that. However, at the year,  I had saved my money for several months and bought “products” at stores. I thought “products” would be nicer than my clumsy handmade goods. Since I didn’t have much money, what I could buy were just a box of cigarette for my father, a small plastic comb for my mother, a small potpourri for my grandma.

Then I found a set of pretty nice playing cards at a store. It was smaller than usual playing cards maybe because it’s for children, and it was made of paper which was cheaper than plastic. And it had pretty cartoon characters on the back. I was fascinated. My sister must be glad if I give her. It was cheap enough for adults, but for me, it was considerable. I convinced myself that she could use it for the playing time after eating cake. That would be the perfect gift, wouldn’t it? I bought it with the most of my money.

Then, back to the party, the exchanging time came. When I was about to give my gift for my sister…my mother showed us a set of pretty playing card. That was the same one! It was a Christmas gift for my sister from my mother.

My mother was cheerfully surprised at the coincidence and asked me where I bought. She was also surprised that I spent a lot for my sister. She knew how much it cost.

Suddenly, somehow I felt guilty. I thought I was very silly to spend my money to buy the same one as my mother bought. I shouldn’t have spent my money such things. It was a waste.

Then, what came from  my mouth was a lie. I told her that I bought it at the same store but the price was much cheaper.

My mother was surprised again and took my cards in her hand and check them thoroughly. I was cringed. I knew there was no different in those two sets.

My mother concluded that mine was made earlier than hers so the raw materials were cheaper. She praised me for a good buy. She also regretted that she didn’t buy it earlier and complained how quickly the prices were getting increasing. I knew she was wrong but couldn’t say anything.

I don’t know why I lied at that time. Why couldn’t I just say “Oh, mom, you bought it too? Me too!” innocently?

Eventually, my sister got cards I gave and I got my mother’s. All my family thought  it was ridiculous that my sister would have two same playing cards. So my mother gave her cards to me and gave color pencils which she bought for me to my sister.

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