I have a strange relationship with truth and deception, I've realised. I have some need to always be deceiving someone - not just withholding some detail of the truth, but actually actively deceiving. But I'm bad at separating the lie from the reality, bad at staying honest and clear in my head.
A lie told often enough threatens to become the truth. A truth told for too long often, gradually, becomes a lie.
I can think of only one thing that will always be true of me. Not a historical fact, I mean - there are plenty of those: I was born in such-and-such-a-place; I did such-and-such-a-thing when I was so-many-years old. No, I mean one thing that is true now, and will always be true - no doubts - and true on a level not taken for granted, a truth beyond that's-just-the-way-it-is.
I love Lily.
Everything else may be transitory. Everything else may cease to be true, or prove never to have been true, or be forgotten, or continue only out of duty - I don't know. But this one thing is definite and forever. That much I know.
And I'm always wondering how my life would have been different if she had stayed, and married my father. How I would have been different.
Would I have been straight? Quite possibly. I don't want to be straight - I do dislike my uncomfortably frequent straight moments and am glad they are outweighed by my more frequent gay moments - and can't, now, conjure up a believable picture of myself being so. But I think for her sake, I would be willing to be. If some omnipotent being offered me the opportunity, 'I can change your past, such that your father would have married Lily, but there are a few catches: one of them is that you'll be straight,' I would take that offer.
It would mean I'd have never come here, never met any of you. And that would be a loss for me, but a loss I'd be willing to take. I know that now - it used to be Leigh I wondered whether it would be worthwhile never to have known. I wondered if I might have opted to move away from this town to go live with my dad and stepmom and potential half-siblings, and never gone to the middle school I did, never met Leigh. And I wondered whether it wasn't better the way it turned out - whether just knowing him was enough to make losing her worthwhile. It wasn't. He left me and is gone and is now a part of my past, not of my present. If the omnipotent being offered me that same opportunity, with all the catches, one of them being that I'd never have met Leigh, I don't think I would have taken it a year and a half ago. I certainly would now.
'I can change your past,' it says, 'such that your father would have married Lily, but there are a few catches...'
'Anything,' I say.