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An Apology - Russ Bickerstaff

It stood there looking at me telling me not to panic. Thought hadn’t even crossed my mind until it introduced itself to me. And it introduced itself to me by way of telling me not to panic. I stood there looking up at me precisely the way it would look up at me if it had eyes. And there was a lack of concern that would have crossed its face where it not for the fact that I didn’t exactly have one. And it’s still there exactly the way it was down there if it were actually there. Which is to say that it wasn’t. But it wasn’t not there otherwise it wouldn’t have been able to tell me not to panic.

"I hadn't exactly been in a state of panic until you showed up.” I said. I figured it wasn’t really important to introduce myself to it because it had already done so. And it seemed to be speaking to me in a way that suggested a kind of familiarity. A realize in retrospect I probably came across as being more than a little bit of rude. But I’m not sure. It’s so hard to tell with these sorts of things.

“I know,” it said bowing its little nonexistent head in apology. “But I figured it was really important to tell you not to panic given the fact that we were going to brush up against each other the way we just did.”

“Yes,” I concurred, “But we wouldn’t have brushed up against each other if you hadn’t bothered to introduce yourself to me.” And from there, words began to tumble out of my head in a way that probably would’ve made more sense if I was actually listening to them. Actually paying attention to the things that I was saying. Which I wasn’t.

It seemed to be perfectly well capable of holding down a conversation with me. Particularly as I wasn’t paying too much attention to what I was saying. From what I recall it was trying to point out to me something regarding the fact that it was unable to keep itself from my awareness for much longer. And I suppose I probably could’ve followed what I was saying a little bit closer if I’d been a little bit more present in the moment.

As it was, I was staring into this little nonexistent thing that was there anyway. And it was apologizing to me for its nonexistence. While also apologizing to me for its existence. And the fact that neither of these things are real makes much sense in light of the fact that it is apologizing to me. Or was at the time. It was very difficult to understand what was going on. All I could do was stand there and look at it as it tried to explain itself. And it was probably doing a really good job. I just wasn’t able to focus on what it was saying. It was hard enough trying to grasp the fact that it was both there and not. Trying to grasp actually what it was trying to express to me and its half existence or whatever. That was kind of strange.

I felt like sinking into it the way it was sinking into me. Which was strange. Because we weren’t exactly sharing the same space. Because though I knew it was there and I knew it was apologetic, I didn’t actually see anything. And so there could have well been people passing through it or whatever. I could’ve been standing in the middle of a busy airport or something like that. But I wasn’t. And it was really difficult to tell exactly where I was at that moment. But I knew there was somewhere. Because I was somewhere in relationship to this thing that didn’t exist and yet somehow managed some kind of an apology.

And that’s when I realized at in the process of fully hearing it out on his apology, I began to understand that I was listening by way of apology to it. And I’m not even really certain way it was that I felt the need to apologize to this thing. Maybe I felt bad for it. If I can head to suddenly go through some weird long explanation that I was only half listening to because I was only really half there.

This is to say that it was half an hour because I have wasn’t. And I have it wasn’t there because I wasn't capable of being there at all. Which is to say that I was only roughly half there. And I was listening to what I was saying as I was trying to explain myself. Trying to explain why it was that I wasn’t feeling well.

Once again it was trying to explain to me things that I seem to already understand. Partially because I was explaining them to it. So we were both sort of talking at the same time. Which was to say that we were both kind of occupying the same space. Which was to say that we were both actually in the same space sort of alone. Because I didn’t really exist but sort of I did. Even though I wasn’t actually there. Because I was looking around and I wasn’t actually seeing anything else either. And somehow it had occurred to me that prior to this whole brush against this thing it wasn’t exactly sure what was going on.

Clearly something must’ve happened before it had apologized to me. And told me not to panic. Something had happened before it had told me not to panic. But I couldn’t quite remember what it was. So I was just standing there. Looking at it. Realizing it wasn’t there. And looking at me. And wondering whether or not I was. There’s something strange about the moment that I didn’t entirely understand. But I figure that I had probably been standing there ever since. Or not. It’s difficult to tell.

I am sorry. Don’t panic.

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