I still remember the day in first grade when my supposed best friend told her mom I was a liar on the way home from school. She was referring to a story I had told in class about having an attic full of Precious Moments figurines. The actual story itself is fuzzy, and the reason behind my need to claim ownership of hundreds of little porcelain children is even less clear, but I distinctly remember going as far as telling the girl’s mother that I would take her up into the attic and show her my Precious Moments village. Had I said Barbies and bedroom instead of Precious Moments and attic, I probably would have come away unscathed, but as it was, the rest of the afternoon was filled with a handwritten letter delivered by my supposed best friend about my lying ways, a phone call between her mom and mine, and a refresher on why it’s not okay to lie.
That’s just one example of many from my elementary school days. I had a story for everything. Not only did I have a story, but I had the best and most attention-grabbing story. And if someone one-upped my story, I had another story that I forgot to tell when I was telling my first story.
Looking back, I prefer to think my occasional exaggerations of the truth were just fulfilling my destiny to be a storyteller. Honing my craft, if you will. Fortunately, sometime during the fourth grade, I reached my spoken-word limit, and my storytelling evolved from being passed on orally to being written down for my own eyes only.
Twenty years after I told my Precious Moments story, I was sitting in yet another classroom when an idea for a story popped into my head. Rather than raising my hand and telling my elaborate tale like I did when I was six, I let my fingers do the talking, and while the rest of my classmates were playing solitaire on their laptops, I started typing the beginnings of a story about a girl named Liza and a small town in South Carolina.
And the rest is from behind my eyes to yours.