Sometime after the fight, the tears or the yelling, or the silence, when the calm settles in again, and a right perspective forms on the horizon, we can laugh about it. Somebody volunteers the words, those too weak to push through the clog of emotion until the clog-clearing powers of need and empathy and loneliness and love have their effect over time. Time, the great healer, comes to the rescue, though often too late for some of the vitriol to seep through to the surface leaving scars or marks of erosion, wrinkles, you might call them, in the fabric of our selves. Time flows through like fresh water, persistent in its pursuit of gravity, and leaves the sediment behind. Thank God for time; another day, or just an hour, maybe only a moment of reflection. Over time, things change.
Then, we say the words. They are so simple. So difficult to speak, yet so simple in form and function: I’m sorry. I love you. I don’t know why, but I shouldn’t have. I hope you’ll forgive me. I hope.
Then, maybe, if the light is shining just right, and grace flows out from those words to rearrange the corner of a mouth or to generate a twinkle in an eye, and a bubble of a laugh rises to the surface, then . . .
One of us will say, I’m sorry, too . . . I’m sorry you’re so mean.
We both laugh, in spite of ourselves, through the tears and the attempts to cling to the last vestiges of self-righteousness, and moral gravity.
We are caught, exposed, uncovered, and the silliness, the preposterousness of our vanity clears away – naked at a formal party. What really matters? There are so few things that matter.
I’m sorry you’re so mean, too.
Sayings of wisdom in the old vernacular: “A kind word turns away wrath.” And, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”
Or, a bumper sticker that used to be popular: “Mean people suck.”