“Hey, I’m Pete and I’m a cheater.” This is not how we start a conversation. We think people have the right to know that we are a lawyer or that we work out every day but they don’t need to know that we are a cheater. As a child, I always thought thieves were not human, at least not normal ones. I expected them to have a strange feature, weird eyes, black teeth, something. They couldn’t just look like us. This was till someone stole from our house and was caught. I remember not being mad at him for what he’d done, and instead being mad because he looked normal. He looked like a person I could see in the street and smile at. A fellow I could meet at the bar and make friends with.
Years passed and I grew up. I developed the same idea about cheaters. I thought you have to be an evil to become a cheater, the kind of person who doesn’t help beggars. But, then my second realization took place and left me shocked. I saw nice people cheat on their love, people who even recycled. Cheating, I realized, wasn’t a sudden change. It is not like you are drinking a coffee with the person you love and suddenly you have to choose between being a disloyal, betraying cheater or the loving prince. It happens so gradually you don’t notice, just like you never know the exact moment you fall asleep.
But, once you become a cheater you are a cheater and you can’t undo that. You will realize the scary thing about cheating is not getting caught but accepting yourself as a cheater. This way, even if they don’t find out, you know and that will be enough.
p.s. the painting is called betrayal – by Renz Kristofer Cheng