i have a fake son.
his name is Tim and he is working on his M.S. in astrophysics at Berkeley.
he is devestatingly handsome and enjoys rock climbing and volunteers as a counselor at the local YMCA there in Berkeley, California.
i am so proud of my fake son. i have raised him up in my own head to be such an outstanding member of society.
“Tim” is only brought up when asked about by one particular woman at work that i only see on occasion. i don’t make a habit or game of lying to people, but with her, it kinda came about as follows:
Faye is one of those people who has been there/done that and will hang herself on the cross while she tells you how much worse the experience was for her. i’ve seen this woman Kanye West an 8-month pregnant girl at said girl’s own baby shower to glorify the gift she gave her as well as go into how horrible her labor was with her own children. Faye also is a braggart. her car/purse/house/ring/shoes/etc. all cost more than whatever yours did and her children are all angels.
i was forced to work with Faye for 2 days about 5 years ago. she called me Emily a few times before i finally told her my name is Amy, not Emily. she gave me a sideways glance and said, “I like Emily better”, and since then, she has always called me Emily. i let this go because to get angry with her and tell her off is to see her become dramatic and begin crying and insist she did not mean anything by it while not issuing anything close to an apology. Faye is always right, too, you know.
anyway, when she shut up long enough about herself and her fabulous offspring on the second day, she asked, “Do you have any children, Emily?”
i replied that i do not. she then launched into her daughter taking fertility drugs so that she could give her mother grandchildren someday.
that was the only question she asked me until i saw her about a year later.
“Oh, HI, Emily! How are you?!”
“Hi, Faye…how are you?”
“Wonderful, wonderful. Stephen just graduated from UT. He’s going to be the best doctor ever! How is your son, uh, Tim?”
it took me a second. Tim? son? what the hell is she talking about?!
it dawned on me what a complete narcissist she truly is. she hadn’t heard me the day she asked if i had children, because she didn’t care. she didn’t care enough to call me by my real name, so it wasn’t much of a surprise.
i couldn’t stop myself. i briefly thought about correcting her, but i decided to just go with it.
“Tim is doing so well. He was just accepted to Berkeley after his amazing thesis on planetary nebuli. We are so proud of him.”
her eyes grew big. “Oh, how nice! But, Berkeley? That’s so far from home. UT is an excellent school; surely he could’ve been accepted there?…”
i gave a small chuckle. “Oh, well, they wanted him for sure, Faye. I mean, all the letters he received, practically BEGGING him to study there. But, well, they just don’t have a sufficient astronomy department. UT is a fine school, but not for the subject that Tim is going into. Astrophysics is not something you can study just anywhere, you know.”
her eyes narrowed. “Medicine is what these young people should be going into. Astrophysics? What is that, anyway? How will it contribute to the world?”
“Gosh, I don’t really know how to explain astrophysics, Faye. It’s so mind blowing for simple minds like mine and yours. But searching for things in space that could potentially help our planet is a pretty big deal, I think.”
Faye promptly excused herself. i knew i had gotten her.
i’ve bumped into her on and off throughout the past 5 years and she always told me how her angels were saving the world, especially Stephen, and then she’d ask about Tim. and i made sure my Tim was one step above her Stephen. her face would turn crimson and she would have to abruptly leave.
i saw her as i was leaving work yesterday and she stopped me to wish me a happy Easter.
“Stephen is coming home this holiday. He’s bringing his fiance. She’s a doctor too, you know. How is Tim? Don’t tell me he’s still not graduated?…”
“Oh, Faye, don’t be silly! Astrophysics takes YEARS to graduate from. It’s not as simple as medicine. But, yes, he is close to graduating.”
“Is he coming home for Easter? I can’t imagine spending holidays without my children; how dreadful! Oh, but he’s all the way in California…it costs so much to fly here, I assume.”
I grinned. “Yes, it does. But he’s such a sweetheart, he’s flying me out there this year! Taking a break from his studies and humanitarian efforts to have his dear ol’ Mom around for Easter. I’m so lucky!”
“…yes, well, have a nice time, Emily. Happy Easter!”
“You too, Kay! Oh, I mean Faye!”
you know, like i said before, i don’t like to lie. it does seem very silly to have let this go on for so long. Tim has been a fabrication in the making for over 5 years now, he almost feels real to me.
when i see Faye, i have images of my fake son, looking so handsome in his lab coat as he’s peering into a microscope looking at dust particles from a comet. i see him jogging with his dog on the beach. i see him hiking and biking and climbing. i see him helping an elderly woman with her groceries.
it’s a true testament that if you lie, or let a lie go on for a while, it becomes a solid thing that you have to keep up with.
oddly enough, i don’t lose sleep on this lie. i don’t see her often enough to fib about this on a daily or consistent level. Faye never cared anything about me or my life until she had something to try to one-up me on. SHE is the one losing sleep on account of her Stephen not succeeding quite like my Tim. it’s amazing how this lie has eaten her alive and made me feel proud of something that doesn’t even exist…
i’ll be boarding the fake plane to Berkeley this afternoon, to celebrate Easter with my fake son.
Mama’s soooo proud of you, Timmy!
How would dread react to autumn?