I knew she was lying. I could feel it. Maybe it was her tone. She was trying just a little too hard to sound convincing. Or it could have been her eyes, refusing to break contact with mine and searching for a sign that I’d bought it.
I was tired of interrogating. I was frustrated that even an offer of clemency couldn’t get her to admit she’d been playing in my room and digging in my closet. And so, I changed tactics. I moved in close – real close – and took her hands in mine. “You know,” I began. We were nose to nose. I was almost whispering. “When you lie, your heart rate changes, and when I put my fingers here,” I placed them on her wrists to take her pulse, “I can feel it.” Of course, I was lying. Sort of. I think your heart rate changes when you lie. (Isn’t that how lie detectors work?) Still, I couldn’t really feel her pulse or anything because mine was racing since I didn’t have a plan if she called my bluff. But I knew she wasn’t being honest with me.
“So let me ask you again: Were you in my room?”
“No,” her voice waivered. “I mean, not really. I wasn’t in your room.”
“I see,” I said. “Lucy!” I thought. I released her. “That’s all I need to know.”
I had been triumphant.
At bedtime, we talked about what had happened. I tucked her into bed with a final word on the subject: “Tell the truth, Julia. Always. It’s just easier that way.”
“Okay, Mom,” she said and kissed me good night. “Mom?”
“I’ve been wondering about something.”
“When you were trying to tell if I was telling the truth, why didn’t you just read my mind?”