Sometimes I get completely lost in my thoughts. When work gets frustrating, when driving gets boring, when my husband gets ahold of the remote and wants to watch Scariest Shit on Fire*, I have the delightful ability to drift off and completely zone right the hell out.
Most of the time I go to pleasant places. I think about Evie’s pudgy legs and how I’d like to smoosh her sweet face. I giggle uncontrollably under my breath about something my sister did (and the person next to me at the stoplight looks over and thinks I’m crazy, so then I start talking to myself and wildly gesturing, just for fun) . I replay entire scenes from movies in my head – dialogue, music, everything. My favorite, though, is the free form thought trains I ride on that take me from thinking about the 90’s Seattle grunge movement to dried cranberries.
Sometimes I drift off to bad places, though, which I don’t like. Boyfriends who dumped me and those I dumped. Missed opportunities. That time I got knee-walking drunk on stripper shots and accidentally turned our table over at Pure Gold. The decision to get a tattoo.
Sometimes I remember things I’ve said and done that I would give my left pinky toe to take back. I see the faces of people I’ve wronged and cringe. I would like to see these people again. I would love to take their hands in mine, look them in the eyes and say with all the regret I feel, “I’m so sorry.”
But forgiveness is not for the benefit of the forgivee. I suspect that my desire to see them again and apologize is mostly selfish, and I really just want closure for myself.
But, hell, it’s my blog. I do what I want!
Tammy, I’m so sorry I stopped talking to you in 7th grade homeroom and did my best to ignore you once I realized others thought you were not cool. I wasn’t cool either, Tammy. In fact, in 7th grade I was overweight, had all the wrong clothes, big, nerdy glasses and was about as uncool as a person can be. Just like you, I liked to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation and read weird true crime novels. Just like you, I didn’t know any top 40 music and listened mostly to my dad’s CD’s. Just like you, I felt out of place most of the time and wished I could dance or that I had a boyfriend.
You and I were different from most of the kids around us, and we probably could have found a great friendship in our common differences. Instead, in trying to make myself feel better, I made you feel worse about yourself. I went from someone with whom you could finally talk and who liked the same things you liked, to just another mean kid in your school who made fun of you. Just so you know, Tammy, scorning you didn’t improve anything in my life and just left me less one friend, which, in the black pit of hell they called middle school, I truly couldn’t spare.
I want to send a similar apology to Stacey and Jon, too. Stacey, I’m so sorry I told you to leave me alone on the church bus. When you leaned your head against the window and softly cried, I felt like shit. You were nicer to me than any of the stuck-up rich kids in youth group. I still feel like shit every time I think about how I treated you.
Jon, I’m so sorry I turned on you when we stood up before our 9th grade English class to give the presentation we’d worked on together. I made a point to be nice to you when we were alone because I knew your parents were weird religious fanatics, and I remembered how in elementary school you couldn’t stand up during the Pledge of Allegiance or sing Christmas songs. I was nice to you not in a romantic way but in a buddy-type way, and I could tell you really appreciated it. But then I sold you out in front of the class by making faces while you talked because it made this boy I had a desperate, hopeless crush on laugh.
I like to think that Tammy, Stacey and Jon went on to lead amazing lives. It makes me feel better. I like to think that Tammy became a brilliant research scientist for a pharmaceutical company. I imagine that she found her niche among a group of people who shared the same non-mainstream interests and she finally feels cool. I like to think that Stacey is working her way toward becoming a famous country singer with her bouncing, curly red hair and a big, country-singer smile. I like to think that Jon owns a big-time construction business with his dad and that he always kills the competition with his bid presentations.
Truth is, all three are probably just good ol’ workaday stiffs like me. I hope they’re happy, whatever they became. And I hope that when their thoughts drift, they don’t drift to me.
I think there’s a reason I can’t let go of these regrets. I’ve promised myself that I’ll raise Eve to think about how she treats people very carefully.
Luckily, I have her dad to help me, who, when he was young, befriended a lonely retarded boy named George when no one else would. Gill walked home from the school bus with George, and they played together all the time. When I asked him about it, marveling at his big heart, even at such a young age, Gill just shrugged and said, “He was my friend.”