The difference is, I lie for a reason.

What else do you expect me to do with these secrets that you force me to keep? Each one is a truth hidden and requires a lie to explain its absence. But lies grow, spinning out of control like a raging forest fire. And when I’m caught you stand over me like a paragon of virtue, bathing in the crowds adoration and sympathy.

A pity that they don’t know the truth.

There are days when I want to unleash Pandora’s Box, to let loose the lies and watch your house of cards come tumbling down. It would be worth it, even though I too would get burned. Why don’t I? The cost, I suppose, and that leads back to how this all started.

You were perfect when I met you. More than I ever thought I’d get or deserve. That’s what you think when you’ve lived in the gutter your whole life. And when you found me in that bar I was so flattered, so happy, that I was willing to do anything to keep you. You made sure that I did.

The first lie wasn’t that big, or even that difficult to keep. Everyone has little secrets covered by white lies. And it made me feel special. You made me feel special.

But with each successive secret, that started to change. The lies became dark and more complex, each coming on the heels of a greater consequence should the truth be known. You were aware of the house of cards that we’d created and knew that your survival depended upon the lies I struggled to tell. And so every time I questioned or faltered, you’d erase my doubts with your breath and strengthen my resolve with your arms.

I knew what you were doing, but I couldn’t stop myself. You were like a drug and I was hopelessly addicted to you long before I realized the hold you had on me. But I knew, and perhaps you were right. What happened is my fault.

Even now, as I sit in the dark and even in the harsh coldness of my cell, with your betrayals mounting and your absence an ache in my chest, I continue to protect you. You would undoubtably scoff, calling me a fool and saying that we’re the same. After all, we both lie and that is true. But the difference is, I lie for a reason.

The difference is, I love you.