little-sister-by-isabel-ashdownI like to think of myself as the kind of person who finds it difficult to lie, but, if I search myself, I know that’s a lie in itself. We all lie, don’t we? Little fibs, everyday untruths, the tweaking of facts to help us sail through life more smoothly. We lie to our dentists about daily flossing, to doctors about our units of alcohol, to friends about why we arrived late; and, let’s face it, daily to ourselves about how we’re really feeling, what we’re really thinking. Are they lies? Not if they harm no one, surely? It must be true that if their intention is only to make others feel better, to reassure, to remove the prospect of disappointment – surely that has to be a good thing? Not lies, perhaps, but mere fine-tuning. Take the lie about my nannying experience, for example: it was at Mum’s funeral, when both Emily and I were giddy with the joy of our effortless reunion, that Emily had impulsively blurted out her idea that I could care for baby Daisy. My stomach had flipped over – yes, I knew, I would love that – but, as quickly as Emily had suggested it, a flicker of doubt or regret passed across her face like a dark cloud.

‘I was a nanny in Canada for six months,’ I said, so convincingly that I almost believed it myself. ‘They were a lovely family, with a four-year-old and a young baby – the mum said I was a natural! I would’ve stayed if it hadn’t been for my air ticket home.’

Emily’s face had relaxed into a delighted smile, and I didn’t feel bad about the lie; I knew I’d said the right thing. ‘Leave it with me,’ she said …

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Little Sister is published by Trapeze, out on ebook 27th April and in paperback 27th July.

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