We had only visited our cabin in the woods once before that summer. My dad was always working, and my mother would not take us alone. I had fond memories as I returned with my dad and siblings, but I was six when we last came, and that was ten years ago. Mother had eloped with her lover and father wanted to get away from the public eye for a bit while figuring out the lie he would tell us to explain the situation.
I never understood why he saw the need to lie to us about it. We might have been children but we weren’t stupid. Maybe he was too busy to understand just how much mother gave his lies away when he was not around.
The woods were not as fun as I remembered. The cell service was terrible, the place was crawling with bugs and I didn’t realise how lonely that silence could make you feel. My siblings are more artistic than I am so they found the beauty in nature, I found that terribly boring. My father was indoors mostly, he came out to eat and watch some home videos before going back to his room. I felt more alone on our little bonding trip.
He called us into the living room on our third day there to explain the rumour that’s been spreading that our mom ran away with a man –like we read the gist off a popular blog.
“Your mother just went on a soul searching mission; you guys know how she’s so into yoga, feng-shui and all that funny stuff now. She’s on her way to Asia in search of her spirit animal or whatever. She didn’t leave us. You should know by now that the media likes to twist stories, and hardworking people like us get the short end of the stick.”
It was laughable. Mother made her way to Asia alright, but not to meet with monks and find a higher purpose, she went to party on a boats and get drunk with her new man. Did he think we were stupid? He had been away working most of our lives; maybe that’s why he hadn’t noticed how much we had grown. We were no longer children who would fall for such lies.
I thought to bring him up to speed but then I took a proper look at the poor man, he was in pain. He was not just lying to us, but to himself as well. I couldn’t bring myself to burst his bubble, my siblings probably already had the same thoughts, they were always better at deciphering emotion.
We left the woods a week after, and my mom leaving remained a rumour in our house for months.