My Global Apologies
By Virginia Carraway Stark
There was no majesty in how she picked up her laptop and started writing, there was only a girl. A girl with red hair and blue eyes that people found beautiful. Her red tiger striped pajamas and her pink tank top were poor armor for the letter she was about to write. She started off slowly, with what she knew had to be said.
“I would like to apologize to the world at large and to the people in particular who have found it necessary to repeatedly describe me as ‘too’,” She started. Her apology was a farce. She wasn’t sorry for it except in how it brought misadventure to her and jealous green eyes staring from the eyes of those who had been friends.
She continued, “From the first time in kindergarten when I took my top off because the boys took theirs off I have never understood the strange rules of this land. I would like to apologize to you all for scorning your rules and for still thinking I did nothing wrong that day in kindergarten. I was sent home early from school while the boys had no ramifications, I was too involved in living to realize that there are boundaries that mustn’t be crossed.”
She didn’t know how to put this next part, “This brings me to my next point of apology. I would like to apologize for all the boundaries that I have violated. I apologize for meaning it when I ask you how your day was and for caring about people I don’t know personally. I apologize for all the times when I believed someone was honest with me because I thought that people tend to be honest. I am too trusting. I am too kind. So I cross those boundaries and believe things that are social lies while sharing the the truth of myself too much. I believe people who ask me how I am feeling and I tell them the truth.”
The words were true but she knew an apology for something that you didn’t know or believe was wrong was a poor excuse for an apology indeed. She was entering deeper waters here and didn’t let herself time to formulate but threw herself into it, exactly in the way she was apologizing for.
“I apologize for my passions,” She said passionately. “I apologize for having a heart that is so filled with emotion that I will give my all for my friends, my beliefs, my love… I apologize for not being able to change. I’m sorry that you enjoy the idea of me and hate the reality of me. I’m sorry that I’m not the way you thought I should be. I’m sorry that I took this path of beauty and love and power over being beaten down by the world and keeping to my place.”
The more she wrote the less she was sure who it was she was apologizing to. Did she mean the world? Was she apologizing to those who had known her as a child? Was she apologizing for who she had been born as or who she had grown into being?
“I’m sorry that I’m not sorry I took that path.” She didn’t feel a need to explain that further. No one who hadn’t made her choice would ever understand. They would do as they had always done, apologized and fed her and send her down the path once more. She furrowed her brow as she tried to be sorry for something in her choice of path but she had no choice, nothing that wouldn’t have gone against her very self. “I wish I could wonder what my life would be like if I had been normal, but I was never normal. I always believed in magic, in true love, in white knights, high romantic relationships, true friends, bravery, four leafed clovers and curses. I believed in magic potions, making flowers into mystical patterns in mud left to dry to cement I warded our home. I swung on the swing and believed that I was kissing the sky, I wondered if I jumped high enough if I could land on the moon if I jumped… at just the right moment.” She cried as she wrote these words, tears falling down her cheeks more and more frequently as her heart spilled over the page.
“I was never what any of you wanted me to me. I was obedient but only until you forced me to go to far. I was loving but only until you stabbed my heart too many times and attacked me for being too too too too much. I couldn’t fit myself into that itty bitty box you bought for me and you attacked me when I pointed out it’s similar shape to a coffin.”
“I apologize to everyone that the universe isn’t a very nice place but I want you to know that there is the universe and then there is the Universe. The Universe is a nice place to be but the rat trap of shadows we are caught in isn’t our home and we are all lost souls struggling to explain this darkness so the light will finally understand. I miss home, I miss being somewhere where things are good and niceness isn’t ‘too’.”
“I’m sorry I can’t give up hope for the future. I still believe in happy endings. I’m sorry that I got run over and that fucked everything,” She thought about all she and her husband had lost. Animals sold at bargain basement prices to people they didn’t know, homes that may be good or bad. Just trying to find places for goslings she had held in her hand as they hatched. All that was gone and would likely be gone forever.
“ I’m sorry that things keep falling short. I’m sorry that I’m a fucking burden now. That I have days where I can barely think. I’m sorry I’m not as good as I used to be and I’m sorry I’m not the woman my husband married less than two years ago. I don’t understand why I am still alive. I sometimes wish I had died when that cab hit me. Why am I still here? Why I do continue another day except that I bear witness to the stories that might illuminate this dark and then the light might finally understand it.” Her eloquence was fleeing as she tried to explain what she sensed but could never explain. A purpose to this madness that humanity calls, ‘living’. She had tears unrepentedly streaming down her face. Talking about the accident and getting run over, the losses she and he husband had incurred was still a source of incoherent sorrow.
“I’m sorry that I was never good enough somehow. I’m sorry that no matter what I do it’s too much but never enough. I don’t understand the standards set for me that seem different for everyone else. Yet another of your rules and boundaries that I’m constantly running astray in.”
“I’m sorry you think I’m too loud and too much because that isn’t going to ever change,” She typed angrily. “I’m sorry to myself that I wasn’t louder and more sooner. I wish I had screamed and screamed for the whole world to hear when I was a child.”
The apology became more personal, “I’m sorry that I believed in adults and didn’t take charge of my own life sooner. I’m sorry that I trusted my dad and believed any of his lies. I’m sorry for what he did to me and my mother and the rest of our family.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t ever talk to my mother and realize what she had been for and that she died alone.” She was crying, she sobbed loudly as she thought of her mother, her life ending in poverty and then the autopsy. The accusations that her grandmother had poisoned her mother only to find it was only water that had killed her.
“I’m sorry for the paper doll I found in my mother’s diaries where she had written her feelings, each paper doll a layer deeper of her feelings until at the very bottom written on the heart the words, “Maybe Ginny will come home”.” She didn’t wipe the tears from her face but let them tumble down her face and onto her chest. Ginny had never come home, she had only come to her mother’s frozen grave, wading through the snow trying to find the unmarked site. Her mother’s body had been hidden away like yet another of Frank’s dirty secrets.
“I’m sorry you died thinking I didn’t love you, because I did. I didn’t run away because you were a bad mother but you were a bad mother. You were a terrible mother. Unlike anyone else in our family though, you never meant to be bad. You tried so hard to find the sunlight on the cloudy days that filled your soul. You wanted to be good so badly but you were still the little girl on your Daddy’s lap, your white dress stained with blood realizing the same lesson I learned: No one stops Daddies from doing what they want to their little girls.”
As she wrote it felt as though her mother’s shade was standing before her, in death, as in life unable to understand the words her daughter said. Her shade yet more broken than the woman who was more broken than the girl she had first been broken as,”You felt so badly for taking money from him after he raped you. I’m so sorry you thought that was bad of you to do. It didn’t mean it was your fault, you were a baby and we baby girls have a habit of believing our daddies and doing what they say. If they tell us we enjoy it then we enjoy it and we lie about how our bones were broken to the doctors or anyone else who asks.”
Her mother’s shade didn’t listen to her, Ginny thought the shade couldn’t even see or hear her, but she continued anyway, “I’m sorry for your death. You were so young still, so abandoned and you still loved my dad. His powers controlled us both and turned us against each other and how good he was at sowing seeds of diversion between us. How cleverly he turned us against each other. How much you hated me on those days when he called me beautiful and told you you were fat and ugly. They tell me it took hours before you died, I didn’t hear about your death for years. I didn’t know they put you in an unmarked grave like a pauper and abandoned you to the spirit realm as one final insult. You deserved better than that.”
Her tears came fiercely now. She was fiercely angry with herself for not seeing that her mother was troubled, not cruel, just broken, “I’m sorry that the last time I saw you was in a food court. I thought you looked beautiful but sad. Our frayed connection was so tenuous you were a stranger to me. I wanted to make a fortune and buy you a little house to live in and have a maid come in and tend you. I wanted to give you a piece of fortune to replace the shit childhood you had.”
She was alone now, the shade had left and even the idea that her mother’s spirit might receive some semblance of the words left with her. She had sat down to write her apology to the world and so she continued despite the absence of anyone to apologize to. No one was listening anyway, “I’m sorry for the whispered conversation we had, one of the last before your death and you said, ‘It’s safe to come home, his power is fading’. You were wrong. So wrong. He plays the old man and the fool but if you poke him with a stick he rises up like a demon filling a skin and spewing fire around him. He’s the bad man and we both wanted him to be good and we damned each other in a million ways defending him.”
She was shaking as the words flew from her fingers and the tears from her eyes, “I am so fucking sorry for everything. For the fact that people will never really understand me, for the fact that people think I’m an angel or a devil and that they can’t ever ever see that all I am is just me.”
She thought of everyone who had told her she was crazy and a liar when she told them what her parents and her stepmother had done to her. She thought about them telling her that she was a backstabbing liar and that she had no right to speak, “My heart full to bursting of love,” She wrote. “As I write this, sorrow for all the sad stories and all the tragedies that happened for no good reason at all. The world will never understand where I have come from or where I am going, I barely understand any of it myself but the world will judge me for all those unknowns and once again damn me for being ‘too’.”
Was it adequate was it good enough? She didn’t care, that was part of being ‘too’ as well. In the end she was just herself and she couldn’t change that.