Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Apology.The much loved and missed writer Julia Darling used it in the title of her moving collection of poetry, Apology for Absence. It was Plato's title for his defence of Socrates. It has a fine and noble side. It can also make you feel like you have just crawled out from under a stone.

I am chewing over these things because I had to apologise to someone to keep the peace. Where do I stand on that, morally? Does it make me weak, a liar or a diplomat? The strangest thing of all was that all the time I was apologising I was thinking, 'Oh, X is going to jump in now and accept some responsibility, surely, apologise to me......' But X didn't. In fact, X compounded the situation by making more personal remarks, unapologetically.

I suppose we are all made differently. For some of us honesty, is paramount. It has uncomfortable consequences. So maybe that is why I am sick at the fact I couldn't be true to myself, that I traded a lie for a truce, sick at the fact that this other person couldn't acknowledge their part.

Does the end justify the means? In the simpler days of adolescence, the nuns might have labelled that lie a venial sin. It might have called for a couple of Hail Marys. If there was a plus side to Catholicism it was its acceptance of weakness and its Friday confessions, when you could start each week again with a clean soul.

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