*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
My friend told me stories about her fiancé, but he never even existed.
Several years ago, I met a young woman at work. As we worked, she regaled me with stories about her fiancé, who often brought her flowers and took her to fancy dinners. She said he was a frequent guest at her home. Her parents and her sister loved him.
He sounded like a great catch.
She and I worked together for years. Although I never met her fiancé, I felt like I knew him. In fact, I think I knew more about him than I knew about my own boyfriend.
The only problem was that her fiancé didn't actually exist.
When I quit my job, my coworker friend and I fell out of touch. So it delighted me when I ran into her sister one day at the market. I asked her about my former friend. I wanted to know how she was doing and I couldn't help mentioning her fiancé.
Her sister's face scrunched into an expression I couldn't decipher. She looked stunned.
"Fiancé?" she echoed. "I'm stunned. This is the first time I'm hearing about my sister having a fiancé."
I nodded. "Yes," I said. "I remember how much she loved her fiancé."
"Fiancé?" she repeated.
I was feeling uncomfortable, and I wished I hadn't asked, but I pressed on.
"She said your parents loved her fiancé," I said. "She said he was at your house all the time."
"My sister never had a fiancé," she replied. "I think I would know if she did. She never even had a boyfriend. There certainly hasn't been anyone to visit her at the house, never mind a fiancé."
I was confused. "But she always talked about him," I said. "She had pictures of him on her phone. She had flowers he bought for her. She even had an engagement ring."
"What are you talking about?" her sister replied defensively. "There is no fiancé. None of this happened. I never saw her wear a ring."
I was more than a little disturbed by this information, and I was worried my ex-coworker's sister thought I was crazy or making stuff up. One thing was obvious: My coworker friend had lied to me multiple times over several years. My friend said she had a fiancé, but he never even existed.
I asked no more questions about her, and I never saw her sister again after that day at the market, but I never stopped thinking about her or wondering what had really happened to her to make her say such things.
I felt bad for my coworker friend.
Is she okay? Has anyone helped her get past whatever made her think such an outrageous lie was a good idea in the first place?
No one would make up such an elaborate lie without a good reason.