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Go ahead and say it
"I'm sorry." How novel.
I wrote this short bit in one of my You Have a Story writing classes. If you’re into the idea of doing some processing of your own, this is a good space for it.
On the way home from the doctor’s office, I pulled into Strange’s, a local flower shop. There was something I needed to take care of.
I asked the people behind the counter where I could buy arrangements, and they pointed me toward a walk-in fridge in the back of the store. It was full of expensive arrangements shaped around teddy bears and angels and stuff like that. Not what I was going for.
I went back out and asked if they could help me assemble something out of the single flowers I saw sitting in buckets next to the fridge.
Sure, said one woman. She walked over and asked: is it for a special occasion?
I shook my head. No. Just because.
She turned and looked back at me, side-eyed. I didn’t need more prodding than that.
Ok, I blurted out. I have an apology to make.
She grinned. I knew I’d get one of you today, she said. What’s her favorite color?
We put together a beautiful little bouquet of roses and lilies and baby’s breath, and I told her how grateful I was. The whole thing only cost me $12, too. When I got home, I put them in the fridge, and when Katharine got home, I gave them to her and told her that I was sorry for what I said. She thanked me.
An apology, clear and without qualification.
This is not the path I was shown. It doesn’t feel very natural. In my house, you didn’t say sorry. You dug your heels in and fought harder. And if you did say it, you hedged, throwing in a few words about how it wasn’t really your fault.
It was an extremely corrosive way of doing business. Far more costly than a $12 flower arrangement.