Flash Fiction: “Yes, but–“

Sometimes acting feels more natural to me than just being a person. But I think that’s only because I have a script to follow, and I know what the other actors are about to say. The world of theatre is contained, ordered, predictable.

It follows that I have never been particularly good at improvisation. Improv is all about “Yes, and…” whereas I have always preferred “But, no.” Born contrarian that I am, I reach for conflict. But the world has weaned me of my declinations. .

Nobody likes hearing “no”. If I am completely honest, I don’t like hearing it either.

I attempt to lubricate the social machine with some combination of the two…

“Yes, but—”

People hate that even more.

I hate that even more.

Saying it. Hearing it. The yes is always the lie in the statement. I lie to you first, so that you will stand to listen when I try to tell the truth.

Inevitably it fails. It is transparent, and I am caught in the lie. To salvage my integrity, I turn the lie into the truth. I perform the yes and feel the no.

That too is a lie. But it is a lie which you find easier to ignore.

I try to tell you. I try to explain. And you look at me with understanding in your eyes and say—

“Yes, but—”

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