A List of Very Specific Things I'm Sorry About

by Jacqui Shine

Surreptitiously throwing away the stuffed bear my cat liked to drag around the house and hump.

Not drinking the hot chocolate my grandpa made from scratch and brought to a football game we went to just because I didn’t want any hot chocolate.

Anything I Vaguebooked after age 25.

Laughing incredulously when my wife suggested that I buy a Jack Johnson album and sneering, “I don’t evenlike Jack Johnson,” to which she said, in a very small voice, “But you like that one song?” which was true.

Not going to see Dr. John with my mom so I could go see Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood with my high school friends instead.

Not taking my girlfriend seriously when she said she only wanted to go to Dairy Queen if they used real chocolate soft serve (instead of adding chocolate syrup to vanilla soft serve) and then getting annoyed when she started crying because she got the wrong kind.

Telling the second-grader I tutored that he should wear his glasses the next week so I could see them, and then not recognizing him all afternoon with his glasses on, even though he kept straining his face toward me, hoping I’d notice.

Repeatedly mispronouncing Choire Sicha’s name.

Asking my dad whether the real reason his brother died was because he’d committed suicide, then freezing up when he started crying and said “Yes.”

Taking my girlfriend’s idea for an intro song for her college radio show and using it for mine.

Shaming my brother for supposedly calling a 900-number sex chat line, when it later turned out that my grandparents had been scammed.

Shoplifting crayons from the school store.

Avoiding an ex and her new girlfriend at a wedding like my life depended on it instead of just saying, “Hi”

Not calling my grandma, despite repeated personal vows to phone her weekly — even though part of the reason I hated calling was because she would always say something like “You and your brother are all I have left” or something else otherwise referring to her imminent death.

Telling my counselor that I thought he was the therapeutic equivalent of government cheese, and then doubling down with, “Even if we were in France and the government cheese were brie, I still wouldn’t want it because it’s government cheese.”

Begging my mom to let me wear her special dangly clip-on earrings that she used to, and I quote, “wear to rock concerts” on an ordinary Wednesday and then losing one of them at the grocery store.

Stealing and eating the class weirdo’s Hershey bar during lunch one day in third grade.

Elbowing the girl next to me all night long on the bus to Disney World in seventh grade because I was mad that someone was sitting next to me.

Invoking MLK in an impassioned note I wrote to a girl who was bullying me on that trip who was the only Black student in the entire class.

Attempting to comfort someone complaining that she felt fat by saying, “Well, your sister’s fatter than you are.” (I was at least half feral in seventh grade.)

Putting an open can of Coke in my brother’s hand after waking him up, expecting that he would drink it, not fall back asleep and spill it in his bed.

Fondly referring to a guy in one of my grad seminars as “nebbishy.”

Refusing to eat the peanut butter sandwich my other grandmother made for me one day because she’d cut it in triangles.

Asking my mom, philosophically, whether ugly people “know they’re ugly,” only to have her answer morosely (and unexpectedly), “Yes, we do.”

Save Yourself is the Awl’s farewell to 2015.