Apology

by, Heather Keyser

One morning

we have to go into the school office

to get a “late” note,

and you hold my hand

swallowing and looking straight ahead,

as I make sure the secretary knows

it’s

your

fault,

not mine—

you forgot your backpack,

and we had to drive home again

to retrieve it.

The front desk comes up

as high as your forehead.

Later, when I’m plugging

my phone in

to charge

in the kitchen,

I feel the heat

of regret

and my eyes burn.

At dinner that night I look at you

during a pause

in the conversation

and touch your arm:

“I’m so sorry

if I made you feel

embarrassed

this morning

in the office.

You are the

most

important person

in my life,

along with your sister

and dad.

I am always

going to be

on

your

side.”

By the time I say the word

“important”

I am holding

back

tears.

You get up

and come over

and hug,

no,

hold,

me

for many breaths.

You wrap your arms

around my head,

laying it on

your shoulder.

We both cry.

“Thank you,”

I whisper

into your neck.

Your little sister

climbs up on

Dad’s lap

and they

goof and tickle,

and he asks her,

“Don’t we have

the best

family

ever?”

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