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Posted by: John | 2007/06/26

Gulity Feelings

CS

I'm busy making some fundamental - and therefore pivotal - changes to my life at the moment. Coincidentally I heard a song the other day that reminded me sharply of a woman I dated a long, long time ago. As I sat there, reminiscing, I realised and remembered that I had treated her very badly at the end of our relationship. She did not deserve the shabby treatment that I gave her and, in truth, she is probably one of the nicer people I had the privilege of meeting. But I plead being a self-indulgent bastard at the time, with little or no thought for anyone else's feelings but my own.

I've been thinking a lot about her and I feel as if I owe her an apology. So, fuelled by my recent epiphany and feeling very chummy with Paul regarding his road trip to Damascus, I decided to track her down and offer her my sincere apologies. This was surprisingly easy: she still works at the same company and is still not married. This last bit of info gave me pause - why, I asked myself, clutching my head and groaning, is she still not married? Did I hurt her that much? But that was my old vanity talking, hitching its belt up if you like, and I thought that I would aplogise anyway.

So after prevaricating and even a little procrastinating, I dialled her number and.....got her voicemail.

CS, she sounds old. Wavery and quavery. It made me cringe. Granted, I realise that 20 years have passed but, being a fully-paid member of the Ageless-self Club, it is hard for me to hear and realise that this vibrant young woman had become so old. I needed time to mentally adjust to this new image so I hung-up, leaving no message.

I still feel the need to apologise. Why? Its so long ago. Is this a revised and updated version of my narcissism? Do I think it will make me feel and look good to doff my cap and avert they eyes in contrite apology?

And why did the fact that she seemed to have aged so much have such an adverse effect on me?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

We're all generally older than we think we are. Maybe how you heard her gives even more reason to make the apology ? You're wise to recognize the potential element of narcissim within the impulse, but it could potentially be healing for both of you.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: JANET | 2007/06/27

JOHN - I ACTUALLY HAD TO GO BACK AND RE-READ YOUR STORY. I WAS VERY RELIEVED TO ACTUALLY NOTE THAT YOU SAID "I'm busy making some fundamental - and therefore pivotal - changes to my life at the moment" SO YOU ARE STILL IN THE PROCESS OF MAKING THESE CHANGES. IF YOU DARED TO MAKE THE STATEMENT THAT YOU HAD ALREADY MADE THE CHANGES THEN I WOULD HAVE TO TELL YOU TO GO BACK AND START AGAIN BECAUSE YOU COME ACROSS AND THE, IN YOUR OWN WORDS, THE MOST UNFEELING, EGOTISICAL SON OF A BITCH. TAKE THAT HARD LOOK ST YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR AND REALLY MAKE THE CHANGES. IN YOUR WORDS, she sounds old. Wavery and quavery. It made me cringe. YOU CRINGED. YOU GRINGED????? I CAN IMAGINE HOW SHE FELT BECAUSE RIGHT NOW EVEN YOUR PEN MAKES ME CRINGE. NOW HER NOT GIVING YOU THE RELEASE FROM YOUR GUILT THAT YOU WANTED IS DESERVED. GOOD LUCK IN YOUR TRANSFORMATION

Reply to JANET
Posted by: John | 2007/06/26

Yeah, Joy, and you're intelligent!

Reply to John
Posted by: Joy | 2007/06/26

I JUST REALIZED THAT JOHN'S GAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reply to Joy
Posted by: John | 2007/06/26

Hiya Ness - good one and perfect for the context. Did you get my e-mail yesterday?

Reply to John
Posted by: John | 2007/06/26

Thank you all, for your advice and encouragement. Even you Martin, caustic and enigmatic as you are.

Well, I made the phone call. As it happens, recording a voicemail greeting seems to be tougher for some than others: it would seem that she was strained when recording that message. In reality, she was still larger than life and twice as natural.

She recognised my voice instantly and the frosty "Yes?" told me that the next few minutes were going to be distinctly uncomfortable.

"Its me, you know.....and I am sure you must be surprised at this phone call." I tried to jolly her along, convinced that she had me confused with someone from SARS.

"I know very well who you are. What do you want?" I'm not sure if you have ever been spoken to in Arctic tones, with sub-zero winds stabbing the words with icicles. I do not recommend the experience, at all, and I was suddenly in a hurry to get the apology done with. But I steadied myself, secure in the knowledge that she could not really travel down the phone line and emerge out of the speaker wielding a rusty and blunt axe.

"Well, I thought about you the other day, when I heard that Nat King Cole song...." I let that hang, hoping that happy memories, suffused with Nat's thick honey voice, would set a huge thaw into this frozen ice field.

The frosty silence continued and I found myself thinking how luck the Titanic was, to have encountered a mere ice-cube. I found myself envying the passengers.

I cleared my throat. "Well, Gwen, as I thought about the time we were together, it occurred to me that I had not treated you well." I paused, the sub-zero silence made me wonder whether she still there. I kept quiet, hoping that she had gone, so that I could put the phone down and see to to the frost-bite, 2nd stage, that was in my ear.

"Are you still there?" I crossed my fingers.

"What is it that you want?" She said. Her voice was low. I am sure you have at some time entered someone's yard, without a care in the world. And then you heard a low growl. Dogs that are about to attack growl. Posers bark and try to frighten you but the serious mafia-type of dog growls. Her voice was like that and I thought I better get on with it.

"Nothing, " I said quickly, "I want nothing. In fact, I'm calling to apologise to you for the awful way I treated you."

I waited, hoping for something else than the chilly silence.

Then she spoke. "Are you feeling better now? After all these years, you call to apologise now? Well, its too late for it to mean anything, but, I suppose, being you, you are trying to make yourself feel better. Is there anything else you wanted?"

"Er, no. But I really am sorry. I hope you can forgive me." She laughed at that, but it was a laugh that was bitter and mocking.

And then she put the phone down. Like the guys at Mweb like to say - just like that.

I sat with the phone pressed to my ear for a few seconds longer, not quite knowing what to do. The I put it down slowly, unsure as to whether I had done the right thing or not.

I still don't know.

Reply to John
Posted by: Ness | 2007/06/26

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN GUILTY OF LOOKING AT OTHERS YOUR OWN AGE AND THINKING,"SURELY I CAN'T LOOK THAT OLD?"

WELL... YOU'LL LOVE THIS TALE FROM A WOMAN!!

I WAS SITTING IN THE WAITING ROOM FOR MY FIRST APPOINTMENT WITH A NEW DENTIST. I NOTICED HIS DDS DIPLOMA, WHICH BORE HIS FULL NAME.

SUDDENLY, I REMEMBERED A TALL, HANDSOME, DARK-HAIRED BOY WITH THE SAME NAME HAD BEEN IN MY HIGH SCHOOL CLASS NEARLY 40 YEARS AGO. COULD HE BE

THE SAME GUY THAT I HAD A SECRET CRUSH ON, WAY BACK THEN? UPON SEEING HIM, HOWEVER, I QUICKLY DISCARDED ANY SUCH THOUGHT.


THIS BALDING, GRAY-HAIRED MAN WITH THE DEEPLY LINED FACE WAS WAY TOO OLD TO HAVE BEEN MY CLASSMATE. AFTER HE EXAMINED MY TEETH, I ASKED HIM IF HE HAD ATTENDED MORGAN PARK HIGH SCHOOL .

"YES. YES, I DID. I'M A MUSTANG," HE GLEAMED WITH PRIDE.

"WHEN DID YOU GRADUATE?" I ASKED.

HE ANSWERED, "IN 1968. WHY DO YOU ASK?"

"YOU WERE IN MY CLASS!" I EXCLAIMED.

HE LOOKED AT ME CLOSELY.

THEN, THAT UGLY, OLD, WRINKLED, BALD, FAT, GRAY, DECREPIT SON-OF-A-BITCH ASKED,"WHAT DID YOU TEACH?"

Reply to Ness
Posted by: Joey | 2007/06/26

You remind me of Earl in "my name is earl" who is also trying to put right all his wrong doings in the past. If it makes you feel better apologise to her - never mind that she sounds old or whatever - whats that got to do with it - you don't have to sleep with her, just apologise to her You might just make her day. I know that if someone had to just pop up out of the blue and apologise to me about something they had done to me in the past, I would feel happy about it.

Reply to Joey
Posted by: Shae | 2007/06/26

When we harm another, we take away a bit of their dignity by the act of treating them with none. Apologising would give that back to her. i know i would welcome it if i were in her shoes.

As for the age matter - we are all humbked at the realisaton of our own mortality. It forces us to think about what matters. Perhaps you realise that its time to put down some roots.

Reply to Shae
Posted by: another older fool | 2007/06/26

john ,
i had the same type of problem.i phoned,and yes she accepted my apology.its been 8 years since and we have this nice ,clean friendship now.go for it you fool!

Reply to another older fool
Posted by: martin | 2007/06/26

my god john you are full of it. instead of apologising why dont you take some time to look into the mirror and map the contours of your wrinkled face. might be more rewarding.

Reply to martin
Posted by: sideways | 2007/06/26

I recently experienced pretty much what you have described and I made that apology. It was awesome. I realised that I had hurt her far more than what I thought, but she was so grateful for my apology and we had an open, honest and ultimately healing conversation about it all. She accepted my apology, was really happy I had apologised and I sensed it had set her free. I felt bad for a while as I contemplated how much I had really hurt her, but we are good now and I too feel much better for having apologised, for having set the record straight and helped her heal. It's the freedom I sensed that she had gained that was particularly gratifying. Go for it.

Reply to sideways
Posted by: anon | 2007/06/26

You most probably still have memories of her as she was 20 years ago. You have also changed, I am sure, in those 20 years....but why not let bygones be bygones, on the other hand if you feel the need to make amends, think why the need now.

Perhaps you may, deep down want to rekindle whatever you had with her 20 years ago.....

Hmm I was contacted by an ex through mutual friends I also hadn't seen nor heard of....time changes everything. I do not ever need to see him again, I wish him well. I am married have a life and he does not. He is lonely, alone, his wife and his kids left him.

Funny how life is hey, I somehow remember years ago he dumped me. So the say goes, what goes around comes around.

Reply to anon

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