Sabrina Orah Mark

The Lie

The morning after I find the mustache in mother’s purse, Brunibar comes to see me. He wants to borrow the mustache, he explains, for the war. I want to ask him how he knows, but I do not dare. I wrap the mustache in a dark blue cloth, along with slices of fish and boiled milk. Our knees touch. We listen to the accordion players kiss the backs of each other’s necks on the radio. Brunibar strokes the raised letters on my wrist, and the pockets of my apron grow large. I carry him into mother’s bedroom, where a live soldier is chewing a hole through the wall. Brunibar unscrews his wooden foot, and I gently climb inside. “What do you see?” asks Brunibar. “Tents!” I shout, through the black socket. In the distance, mother is already returning from the front. How do I tell Brunibar the truth without hurting him? “Beautiful flying tents,” I whisper. My voice growing farther and farther away.