You didn’t mean it. Or rather, you didn’t realize what you were doing was wrong. You weren’t the first and you weren’t the last. You were just one more notch in the belt that tightened around her neck. You and your thoughtless actions. You knew they were wrong, deep down, at the core of your being. You knew. That didn’t stop you, though. You were perfectly happy to go the way of the status quo. You saw others doing the same, treating her with disrespect. You thought if they could do it, it must just be what’s done.
And here you sit, feeling remorse a day late and a dollar short. You know, though, that it is your background, your privilege, that makes it so you don’t really have to change. You can play at it, and make grand gestures and get pats on the back for how progressive you are. How thoughtful of women. How generous.
You have changed, a little. You let them finish their sentences. You keep those jokes to yourself. You listen when they tell you their thoughts. Ok…you mostly listen. You make eye contact instead of staring at their cleavage. You are trying.
It’s not enough, and you know it. All that learning and exposure before you knew it are hard to make sense of. All those friends you made before you learned are hard to be around now. They’re further back from where you are. They’re not as “woke”. You can see the difference and it makes you both reassured and depressed. You’ve come a long way, baby.
You straighten your tie before heading to the closed door. You know she’s behind there. You know she’s waiting for you. You know that you need to apologize, and you know she’s not likely to accept. You miss her, and you want this to work.
You knock on the door very lightly, almost as if you hope she doesn’t year you. You want the fact that you’re knocking, the fact that you’ve come to her on your own. You want a gold star.
* All 30-minute musings are fiction. Any resemblance to people or events is strictly coincidental. *