The Unmistakable 
The dulled cracking puft-puft-puft of several rounds of gunfire, muffled by the night air. 

Five, six shots. A pause. Four more shots — puft-puft-puft-puft.

I rise into robe and slippers and step quietly downstairs, apprehensively passing the open window, sorrowed by the anger and violence outside, not far away.

It is a heavy honor to bear witness. 
Strangely, I am also grateful that I do, at least once in a while, hear the gunfire. Of course, I wish it didn't happen at all. Of course. 

But, since it does happen — people shoot guns in the night — I am glad that I do not live so far from the reality that I am deaf to its sound. 

I am left to imagine what grievance led to the discharge. I imagine the fearful outcome. 

I wait for the siren that follows. 

I pray for the safety of all.


I'm sorry. 
I'm sorry for my mistakes and errors during the past year.

I'm sorry for my lapses in judgment. I'm sorry, especially, for whenever these mistakes and errors caused you pain, discomfort, confusion, aggravation, or delay. Especially delay: I am sorry for whenever I wasted your time.

I'm sorry for my moments of inattention. I'm sorry for whenever I was not listening respectfully, truly hearing your words. I'm sorry for my distraction. I am sorry that, when we caught each other's eyes, my thoughts had strayed.

I'm sorry for breaking my promises. I'm sorry for gaps in my integrity: whenever I did not do what I said I would do. Perhaps I simply forgot. How irresponsible. I'm sorry for not following through.

I'm sorry for not knowing.
I'm sorry that I don't know I owe you an apology, that I am left offering this public list of regrets. I should know to whom I owe apologies — and I should deliver them in private, in person. 

Where I know my apology is due, I have delivered it in private, in person.

But I don't know every instance. For that — for the unknown apology left undelivered — I am truly sorry.

Have I wronged you? Do I owe you an apology? Please let me know.