Step 9: A Misinterpretation

by a contributor

Michelle E. Crouch

Melissa, I’m sorry I said you couldn’t come to my sixth birthday party. And Miss Massenberg of Lacey Elementary, I’m sorry you had to deal with the fallout.

Old guy from church with the tracheotomy, I’m sorry I laughed when you talked through your voicebox. I thought you were a ventriloquist.

Ben Thompson of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, I’m sorry I danced with Matt instead of you for the last slow song at the end-of-summer-camp dance. Fifteen years later and I still remember your last name and hometown, not his.

[Note: there will be no more apologies concerning romantic or sexual matters, as they all follow BASICALLY THE EXACT SAME PATTERN]

Well, one more: C.H., sorry I told you I was coming back.

One last one: S. and other unknown and unknowable women, I’m sorry I fucked your boyfriends. I hope you found out and dumped them??

I’m sorry I picked flute instead of percussion in middle school band.

I’m sorry I took French instead of Spanish.

Kristy, I’m sorry I ever met you. But it’s cool. Whatever.

Andy Shapiro, I’m sorry I puked in your guitar case. But I am not sorry I snapped your Led Zeppelin CD in half.

To all of my roommates from 2004 to 2011, I’m sorry I didn’t do the dishes.

Mom, I’m sorry I was ever afraid of turning into you because you are totally awesome.

Dad – sorry, I wasn’t listening.

To my sister, sorry I always made you be a cat or a dog when the rest of us were playing house, or mountain climbers, or psychiatric ward.

To my brother, I’m sorry in advance that I will probably need to borrow money from you one day.

I’m sorry, everyone who met me before I was twenty-five, that I didn’t start seeing a shrink until I was twenty-five.

I’m sorry for the great self-immolation of 2003.

I’m sorry, I tried, I just don’t really like Bob Dylan.
I’m sorry, I tried, I just fucking hate Cat Stevens.

Dana, I’m sorry I poured a beer on you, even if you were performing a dis rap about my friend. I could have taken the high road.

Alex, Alice, Amanda, Angela, Annie, Arpy, Ben, Ben, Ben, Caleb, Carol, Caroline, Christian, Dan, Emily, Eric, Joe, John, Josh, Kevin, Lilli, Lisa, Michelle, Nan, Nick, Nick, Palmer, Tev, Toby, Tut – I’m sorry I suck at keeping in touch.

Ben K, I’m extra sorry. We miss you.

I’m sorry I missed all your birthday parties, goodbye parties, welcome home parties, dinner parties, dance parties, book parties, gallery openings, concerts, and readings.

I’m sorry I let you down,
I’m sorry I didn’t write back,
I’m sorry I am selfish
I’m sorry
I love you
I’m sorry

Michelle E. Crouch is one of the co-founders of APIARY Magazine. Her writing has appeared in The Indiana ReviewThe Journal of Information Ethics, and various places online (links to which can be found at She is currently an MFA candidate at UNC Wilmington.

See Michelle’s list of 5 Things You Should Read in our ongoing contributors’ series.