My Apologies: Conquering the World One Sorry at a Time

Woman's hands holding a flower

The oldest thing I own is a piece of homework from 1st grade. It’s actually an entire booklet of paper bound in little plastic rings. “Tiara, Grade 1” is written in purple crayon across the construction paper cover.

God knows how I still have it. It has somehow weathered a hundred homes (and no home at all). I swear one day it will be archived as a religious script because of the shit it has endured. In the future, people will tell the miracle of how the little plastic-bound journal survived tornadoes, fire, and the summer my mom kept goats in the house.

There isn’t too much to report about the Holy Scripts. Mostly pictures of birds in the distance signified by “M”s, yellow sunshines and broccoli trees, but there is one very memorable entry:

My shit list. Well, my “shite” list. Apparently I was an Irish child.

Grade 1 and already making a shit list.

You see, there weren’t a lot of rules in my house. No curfews, no chores, no expectations of grades or school attendance, and the expletives were free to fly. Al Pacino and Eric Cartman screaming “God fucking damnit” echoed around my living room and Tony Montana himself might balk at the curse words that came out of my step dad’s mouth.

But there were two dirty words, so filthy that to speak them meant swift and violent retribution.

Those words were: “I’m sorry.”

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