The power of 'sorry'
They say that the hardest things to tell someone are ‘I love you’, ‘Help me’ and ‘I’m sorry’. And because of their significance they are often the most important things to hear. They have the power to change everything.
The 00s wasn’t a good decade for my middle brother – he mixed with the wrong crowd, hit a rough patch and started stealing. As a result our relationship grew colder, froze and eventually shattered like an icicle that fell from a skyscraper.
In summer 2005 I came back from the UK after my gap year, with my boyfriend. One day we all were hanging out in the lounge in our parents’ house. I remember sitting on the sofa and my handbag was on the floor, right next to me. Mum called us for dinner and we got up and went to the kitchen. An hour later when I came back to the lounge, my handbag was gone.
We searched everywhere but I knew what had happened – my brother had stolen it. He denied it of course. That was the day when our relationship ended and to me he was dead. From that day onwards I only had one brother.
We haven’t spoken for ten years. Ok, that’s not completely true – we did speak out of necessity a handful of times to keep up the appearances for the sake of our family. And the last time we spoke, it was me who made the phone call because I needed him to come home to see daddy.
Over the past year daddy’s health had progressively deteriorated. Knowing that it might be the last opportunity for all of us to get together, I summoned both my brothers.
We all arrived on a cold October morning; we hugged and we acted like normal siblings. But the frost of the betrayal still chilled me to the very core, and I simply couldn’t get warm.
I looked into his eyes – he was my blood, my brother. But we were strangers and we had nothing in common, apart from our father and the desire to have a picture taken of the four of us.
The old wound had long turned into an ugly scar and all we had to do was to get through a few days. After that we all would return to our lives, separated by thousands of miles and mountains of recrimination and hurt.
We had a wonderful day with daddy. He wasn’t well and couldn’t get up. But we stayed with him all day; we joked, laughed, reminisced and made sure he laughed with us.
In the evening, as he was nodding off, we quietly slipped out, leaving him to get some sleep. It was the time for a long overdue siblings catch up so we headed to the nearest bar where the boys promptly ordered a bottle of vodka.
An hour and a bottle of vodka later, we were happily chatting away, filling in each other on what’s been happening in our lives. Suddenly my middle brother pulled his chair up and sat right next to me.
‘’I need to tell you something’’, he said. My heart stopped beating for a second.
‘’I am sorry’’, his eyes were welling up. ‘’I am sorry I stole your bag ten years ago and I am sorry was such a jerk to you’’. Unable to utter a single word, I hugged him and we sat motionless for a couple of minutes.
I couldn’t believe he remembered, or how sorry he was. The brother I considered dead for so many years, was suddenly back in my life and very much alive.
Of course I forgave him, and in true woman style I pretended it didn’t matter and said it was ancient history, water under the bridge. But he shook his head and said that although it was water under the bridge, it also took ten years of our lives.
And as I looked at his sad eyes, I couldn’t help but wonder, what did it cost him to say sorry? When did he turn his life around? What did we miss out on?
The boys ordered another bottle of vodka and champagne for me. The night was young and we had a lot to catch up on, ten years worth.