I think my intestines are expressing my emotional state. Blame my enteric nervous system. I took a medicine I never take that is just for abdominal cramps. I took ibuprofen. I hope eating feels itself to be on my horizon soon. It really, really hurts though.

I went to bed last night at eight and woke up at seven. I don’t know that I slept that well—the puppies fall out of their little house at night and then cry pathetically until I wake up and go put them back. They fell out twice last night. The first time was around 10:15, and I got back in bed feeling this tremendous urge to check my Facebook and make sure C was okay.

I didn’t.

But I got up in the morning and checked and C had been online at that time, posting a somewhat cryptic status that seemed to imply she was feeling very sad about her two best friends getting transferred.

It’s horrible to me, because my little girl is upset about something, and I am not doing anything. I think this is why the cramps are so bad.

I ended up breaking my “Don’t poke C” rule. I think it doesn’t matter particularly. First I just sent a text wishing her a happy holiday. She came online a minute later, so I suppose she saw this, but she didn’t reply to me at all.

Then I sent her a message on Facebook saying I am sorry I didn’t listen to her about her friends not coming, because she was right about that.

The thing that had started to occur to me is that she was telling me the emotional truth in that moment: the bus ticket might have been a lie or an excuse, but when she said “Friends are not coming,” her voice changed. I know what that change in voice means. It means, “I am making myself vulnerable now.” I caught that, but she had been lying in our exchange of texts and lying really triggers me and then after that I am like a different person. Totally suspicious, distrustful, not taking anything in.

It is my problem and I know it. I need to work on it, because C lies. She lies to get out of trouble, and she lies to avoid hurting my feelings. She is not lying merely for the thrill of deception or because she does not care. She lies to avoid rifts in our relationship. So I don’t blame her that much.

But it still really upsets me. Very often, I do not say anything about her lying at the time, because I don’t know what to say, and I have also found that people who lie once usually continue to lie to cover the first lie. They generally do not just say, “Oh, oops, sorry. I lied.”

I should also say the day that I finally had to process the conversation in, I realized this. I realized that what hurt me in our conversation was not that she had decided at the last minute not to come, but that she lied. The lying is deeply, deeply painful for me, and my response to her telling me the truth was the reason she reverted to a harsher, less trusting way of speaking to me.

I think this is partly cultural. I don’t think it is from Western culture—you can tell, perhaps, if it is. But I think the meaning I give to lying in personal relationships is that it is a closed door. It says, “I do not trust you. I do not want to be close to you. This topic is personal and I do not want to discuss personal topics with you.” It is massively, massively distancing to me as a gesture from C.

I think I give it that meaning either because that is the meaning in Russian culture or because it was the specific way the girls understood closeness and truthfulness. I think in Western culture, lying just means you are trying to get one over on someone and for C it might too. At least most of the time. She told me once, “I love my dad.” This was early on—in September or August—and that was a closed door. Her closed door is, “Leave it.” And I am meant to break down that door.

This is why I am saying it is my problem. Her lies are fear, not a desire for privacy.

The problem for me is that Nata lied. Then she died as a result of that lie, so I have this really intense reaction to it. It both has a different meaning for me than for C, and it is also very closely tied to intense trauma.

First I become frightened and distrusting—Nata’s death was terrifying. It sparks a reaction of fear and distrust. Then I want to hold C close in some way, either physically or emotionally. I literally feel like screaming her name.

I have been remembering sitting under the streetlight in the Travelodge parking lot, holding Nata as she lay dying. That’s the real issue. That’s what really needs to be processed.

But I poked C. I hope I didn’t fuck anything up. I think I didn’t, but it is done, and I cannot undo anything now.

It did make me feel slightly better to do it: I did something wrong. I ought to have been understanding in that moment when she told me her real truth, and I wasn’t. I did something wrong. I apologized. It is right to apologize when you have done wrong.

I have no idea how it seems to an emotional 14-year-old girl though.

She is supposed to be in her village in 2 days. If things are still according to schedule, she will need to leave tomorrow in the early morning, if she hasn’t already. I have no idea where she is now.

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