Hi beautiful,

Sometimes I am just overwhelmed with how bad I feel about everything regarding us and our end. It’s weird, really. A few times a day, I think about writing you an email explaining how bad I feel. What exactly I’d apologize for isn’t even all that clear to me. Like, “Sorry for the million inadequacies and miscommunications in our time together that ultimately bundled into us breaking up and feeling terrible about everything.” What the fuck good would that email do? I might even write it just for the catharsis, were it not for your imagined response. Incredibly, you would almost certainly try and comfort me.

That would be terrible. I don’t want to be comforted by another human. I just want to release an apology into the world that’s as powerful as a decree from the Old Testament. The apology would travel the whole earth and the spirit world too. By releasing it, the past would be abolished and I would be absolved. All existence would bear witness to my apology and quietly accept it before moving on. My apology would create a permanent “present.” The past would be dissolved, and with it any idea about the future. My apology should serve as a resurrection, not just of me, but of you too. Once you’d borne witness to it, you too would be able to let go of the past. You’d be able to stop wondering if it was your fault (it wasn’t) and you’d stop thinking about our relationship at all. You’d be able to just move on the way you should, the way you want to.

My apology should be able to serve that role. Instead, if I send it to you, it’ll just serve as another round of back-and-forth between us where we rehash a bunch of stuff about the past. It won’t matter. We’ll talk, it might be nice, but ultimately, whatever. After the fact, we will both find ourselves thinking about what happened between us all over again, just as before. The only difference will be that in addition to what we normally churn over in our heads repeatedly, there will be a new, more meta conversation to churn over as well.

Another interaction over which to ask, “Well what if I had said this, or what if instead I had responded like that? Would that have made the difference? Would everything have gone better?” No matter the apology, the game will remain the same. I don’t even really want to apologize to you: maybe that’s the problem. I want to apologize to everything. I want to say I’m sorry to the universe. That way, the universe could just take it in and forget the whole thing. Unfortunately, things aren’t so simple when it comes to you and me.


“Sorry” is an excerpt from Richard Power’s new memoir, Letters from a Heartbroken Pervert. You can purchase the book from Terror House Press here.