Wednesday, March 08, 2006

(64) Apologising for the offence given twenty years ago in childhood

On the afternoon of November 30th 1990 I was talking with the editor at the offices of the Bedford Citizen newspaper.
A woman journalist reentered the room and asked if I was “Jimmy Plaskett”.
Nobody had called me that for many years.

I said that I was and she went on to introduce herself as Geraldine Throssell. This was her married name.
She had married the brother of David Throssell, a boy whom I had lived near and with whom I had been friends when we had both twenty years earlier attended school.

She said that she had a memory of having done something wrong twenty years ago. She said that she and her boyfriend, now her husband, had arranged to pick David and I up from school one Saturday morning, but there had been some delay on her part and I had gone off in a huff, refusing the lift home.
I had walked it instead.

As a consequence she had been told off by my mother.

Geraldine said that she seemed to recall that it had genuinely been her at fault and said that she was sorry.

I had hardly a clue what she was talking about, but I accepted her apology, one which she had deliberately reentered the room to deliver, and I joked that it was just as well that I had popped in that day as it had given her the opportunity to get it of her chest.

The following evening I saw at the cinema a film called Flatliners

It was about a group of medical students who had deliberately had their hearts stopped in order that they might undergo a kind of controlled near death experience.
One of them was troubled by how this had led to the resurfacing of memories of his having bullied a girl at school twenty years before.

It bothered him so much that he had sought out the girl, now married, and apologised to her.

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