A Liar’s Letter to His Lover by Harriet Brown

Harriet Brown

Aaron Valenzuela operates as Harriet Brown, a synth pop artist with aspirations of an auteur’s fingerprints on the level of Prince’s intimidating body of work. But, being an artist of that caliber comes with the tricky navigation of stage persona versus actual life. Valenzuela explores this with his contribution to our series. He wants to tell the truth, but he’s got plenty to atone for.

A little explanation: I’ve often felt like an actor in life, and I think it’s interesting / funny / sad how often people spew white lies in social situations and in relationships. This piece just explores that topic to the extreme. It’s called “A Liar’s Letter to His Lover”.

To my dearest Tiesa,

I love you so much. So much so, that sometimes I feel like a con artist, because I just feel like I don’t even deserve to be with you. In fact, what would you do if you found out I was some sort of con artist? What if I were a con artist, but I really did love you—and I swear I’m the same person, it’s just that my entire background is not what you know it to be? I didn’t go to Harvard, I went to Stanford. I actually studied Math, not English Literature. Not that I was actually trying to con you in any way; I just wanted to snag you at first, but then I fell in love. I wanted to tell you the truth then, but I got scared; I just kept digging deeper and deeper and deeper—have I hit the core yet? It’s getting really hot. I just didn’t know how I’d get out of it. I’m trying now. I am the person you know and feel, but I’m not the man I’ve made myself out to be. Would you still love me? Would you still be my friend?

I really do love you. That’s a truth. When I compliment you, it’s sincere; I did like that dish you made. But my name isn’t Harriet; it’s… Matthew. I know, that’s weird, but you know, things don’t have to change that much. We can still be together. I’m actually Malaysian, not Filipino—but that dish I made you was a Filipino dish. I learned it from—well that lady you met was actually my mom’s cousin’s wife, not my mom. We just got close at some point.

Okay, I know this is crazy, but, hey, I’m telling you now. Can’t we just move on? Look, we’ll have a party to celebrate the truth. In fact, my birthday’s next week, and, yes, I’m actually turning 26. I’m sorry, the age thing—I just wanted you to think I was a little younger than you. I love it when a woman feels like they have control, you know, seniority—a little bit like a mother.

Baby, I’ll make it up to you. I’ll never lie again. You can meet my real parents. Well, actually, no you can’t. But you like the dog I got you, right? His name really is Eddie! And, no, that’s not really my favorite band. I’d never heard of them until you mentioned them. I went home and downloaded their discography that night. And bought a poster. On Amazon. Free two-day shipping.

Oh, honey, you know, I love you. I really do. You do already know me. Pretty much. I mean, when I’m smiling, I usually mean it. I just wanted you so badly. I didn’t want you to think I was lame, so then you thought I was cool, but then I wanted you to think I was cooler. What will you do? Now you know who I am—almost. What’s it gonna be?

Well, I guess I’ll never know, because I don’t think I’ll ever give you this letter. I’ve already started this trip, might as well ride it out.

Sincerely,

Matthew (Harriet)

Harriet Brown’s New Era EP is out now on Feel So Real.

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