Around twice a year, I relay an anecdote in which I apologized to someone I mistreated in the past. It didn’t actually happen. The apology didn’t, anyway. The mistreatment did. By pretending that I have apologized, it almost feels as though I have, without the actual confrontation or admission of assholery to the offended party.
At this point the apology would be for me anyway, not him. It’s possible he doesn’t remember, or that it had no negative impact on his current life. I shouldn’t rehash something he might be happy to forget forever. I sometimes hear what he’s doing now and he sounds like an interesting, successful person, however much you can trust that from a third party. A few years ago I ran into him and we got along pretty well. I bought him a beer, like that made up for everything.
Maybe someday I’ll actually make the apology I claim to have already made. Maybe it will be after he dies, and I ask his children if I can say a few words. Maybe I’ll get up in front of his loving family and friends and issue the first sincere eulopology. Or I’d get so excited about coming up with the word eulopology, even though it’s nothing too great, and forget about what I was going to say. But then I’d remember that the reason he died in the first place was because I was afraid that even as an old man he would tell people about the mean kid in his junior high who picked on him and I couldn’t handle not being seen as the practically perfect man than I now am so I would track him down at his acreage in North Carolina even renewing my passport for the first time since the thirties after I got in a bit of a row with the American border security when they found out I used to have one of those medical marijuana cards to help with my anxiety that followed me around from bullying a kid years before and never apologizing to his face so I find him outside Raleigh at the local farmer’s market and I follow him home as he walks with his dog and I strangle him in his driveway not even checking to see if any of his neighbours are outside mowing their lawn or whatever. There’s no way to know, really.