Nearly every time the need for apologizing arises, I hear not only my mother but every mother’s voice ringing in my ears: “Say it like you mean it.” That may sound like a simple thing, after all I often really do feel badly about what I have done (at least since becoming an adult) because most of the time the pain I inflict is not intentional. (All the other times I like to think it is for their own good.) But I have begun to notice something that has made it all the more difficult, not only to say “I’m sorry,” but to mean it.
In a recent, shall we say “discussion” with my wife I felt this creeping goblin behind me. We had had very little sleep and were just missing each other all day. Trying to get things done around the house when it is full of zombies, I suppose, requires some level of force. The conversation came to a head, and I will not begin to make myself look good. We came to an unspoken truce and decided that we needed time to cool off. I went to wash dishes (the dishwasher being on the fritz) and began to think.
Ever notice how doing something so mundane as dishes can be a great opportunity for thinking?
Almost as if the garden window dropped a screen and showed a replay of the argument, I noticed a shadow lurking just over my shoulder. As if in a whisper, it seemed to suggest that if I would go to my wife and apologize, she had better follow suit. It was even worse than that: it was as if my apology was not really an apology at all, but a covert way of demanding that she apologize to me.
How old am I?