3 Syllables, 2 Words

I found this phrase more commonly said on the streets with strangers than in my own home. Though some don’t truly mean it, I still smile with forgiveness since I would have done the same had they not said anything. That’s how I’ve been trained.

Is it not wanting to be wrong? Or is it the feeling of being lower than someone to say such words? I can’t count the number of times these two words have been spoken to me on one hand by the two people I love most; because it’s never happened. From simple things like a misunderstanding to a breakdown, something physically stops them from uttering those words. Words that would be such a silly thing to want to anyone else. Words anyone else would think “who cares” (Lost & Found). Words that are a daily practice in life for better communication. My desperate desire to hear these words; I can not express the relief I would feel if only said to me by my own-

It suddenly becomes the bare minimum for a person to say when they screw up. Because that’s all they need to say: something the people who should be closest to you never said. And when you make the slightest misstep, all you can get out of your mouth are those two words over and over again, a replacement for the treatment you never got. 

The lack of communication starts to get to you as you never speak your thoughts, fearing that this bridge of glass may shatter. I didn’t want to upset them, “I didn’t want them to get away” (99% Invisible Podcast). This fear extends to trying to cope with your mistake without the reassurance that your opinions should be valued in these fragile relationships. But alongside that fear of living without those two words, you are suddenly pulled back to your childhood home where it all started. Your mind turns into a “home away from home” (Welcome to the Last Bookstore) whenever it betrays and drags you back to those times when “home” wasn’t a safe space. Your throat tightens up. Nothing comes out. 

But all of a sudden everything is okay again as the two words leave their thoughts and enter my ears. A sense of calmness washes over me as their face distorts into one I know all too well.

“I’m sorry.”

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