It was my favorite day of the week. Every Wednesday my dad would let me drive his truck to the end of the driveway to drop off the trash. For a 12 year old boy, life doesn’t get any better than driving a real grown-up pick-up truck. I can still remember the color, tan. And I can still remember the model, a Chevrolet Silverado 2500. That truck was my first taste of freedom. It was also my first taste of regret.
It was a cool summer evening in the mountains of North Carolina. The stars were bright, the fireflies were even brighter, and I was collecting all of the trash from around the house so that I could drop it off at the end of the driveway. It was the only chore that I didn’t mind because it meant driving my dad’s truck all by myself. As I grabbed the last few bags with my hands and headed toward the front door, Miss. Sue walked in.
“Hi Miss Sue!” I said as I swung two trash bags through the front door and out into the cool night air.
“Hello there Daniel. Are you taking out the trash?” She asked.
“Yes ma’am. Every Wednesday night! What are you doing on our side of town?”
“I’m watching your mom’s horses next week while yall go on vacation.” Miss Sue always fed our animals when we went on vacation. At that point in life, we had four horses, a coop full of a chickens, a few cats, a few rabbits, and two dogs. It was quite a lot of work to take care of all of them, but Miss Sue loved animals and she was really good with horses. My mom and dad trusted her a lot, and I think they paid her pretty good too.
“Well good to see you Miss Sue.” I said as I turned to walk out the door.
“Good to see you too. Have fun next week.”
And with that I walked out the door. I carried the trash bags to the driver’s side of the truck and without looking, threw them into the back. Turning around, I flipped the keys up into the air, caught them, and with a swagger in my step walked over to the driver’s side door.
As was my custom, the first thing I did when I got into the driver’s seat was put in my favorite CD. It was a mix of my favorite country songs, and started off with the song “Thank God I’m A Country Boy.” I turned up the volume really loud and rolled down the windows. The great thing about driving a truck around your house is that you don’t have to obey any normal traffic behavior. So without looking behind me, I put the truck in reverse and hit the gas.
I only backed up a foot or two when the truck hit something. My head shot around, and there was Miss Sue’s car up on two wheels. I pulled forward, and her car settled back down on the driveway. Panic ran through my veins. I got out of the truck and went to see the damage. I also said a four-letter word.
My worst fears were confirmed. There was a rather large dent in the passenger’s side door. I didn’t know what to do. Actually, that’s a lie. I knew that I should go in and tell them what happened. But I didn’t. I was afraid that my dad wouldn’t let me drive his truck anymore, and I was afraid that I would have to pay for the repairs.
So instead of doing the right thing, I got back in my dad’s truck and maneuvered it around her car. I drove the truck down our half-mile long driveway, and put the trashcans out by the mailbox. As I drove back up to the house, Miss Sue passed me on her way back home. She looked happy, and waved at me to open my window as she drove by. I waved back with a big fake smile, and rolled down my window thinking that she would let me have it for hitting her car.
“Have fun on vacation!” She said enthusiastically. You could tell that she really meant it, and that she had obviously not noticed the dent. “I wish I could come with you, but then again who would take care of the horses while y’all are gone?”
“Yes mam.” I said, and that’s when it hit me again, I should tell her the truth right now. But I didn’t. I skipped my second chance to tell the truth.
A week or so later, I was talking to my mom and my mom told me about how a horrible thing had happened to Miss Sue. She said that Miss Sue had walked outside after visiting the post office and noticed that someone had hit the passenger’s side door of her car. She said that the person who hit the car had left without leaving a note or anything.
“Now Daniel,” My mom said, “If you ever hit someone’s car you make sure you stick around or leave a note, you hear? What that person did to Miss Sue was wrong, flat out wrong. What’s this world coming to when people don’t have enough integrity to leave a note when they hit someone’s car. You better never do that, alright?”
“Yes mam,” I said. At that moment, my heart hurt, but my mom’s speech also made me curious. I couldn’t help but wonder if this was one of my mom’s mind-tricks. Did she know that I hit Miss Sue’s car and wanted to see if I’d tell the truth? But that didn’t seem right, my mom doesn’t play games. If she thought I had done it she would have asked me straight up.
So I kept it to myself, and skipped my third opportunity to tell the truth.
For years, I kept it to myself. And every time I saw Miss Sue my regret became heavier, that is until I learned to ignore it. It wasn’t until 8 years later, when I was in college that I finally told my mom this story and asked for her forgiveness. But unfortunately, I still haven’t seen Miss Sue since I was a kid. If I do I will be sure to confess and ask her forgiveness.
Looking back, that was the night that I learned that there are two different types of lyin’. The first type is when you’re talking to someone and you tell them something that is not true. The second type is when you deliberately hide part of the truth. That second type was the type I was guilty of when I hit Miss Sue’s car and didn’t say anything. If someone had asked me if I hit her car, I would have said “yes.” But no one asked me, so I never admitted it. That’s lyin’ whether I want to admit it or not, and I’m guilty.
I hit Miss Sue’s car a little over 14 years ago, and I still have the smell of regret in my nose. A smell that is a lot stronger than any trash I ever delivered to the end of our driveway.
Have you ever purposefully hidden parts of the truth so that you didn’t get into trouble? When? Where? Comment below and continue the discussion…