Friday, February 23, 2007

forgive my trespasses

as a child there are certain things you do, that you know are wrong even when you are in the act of doing them. when we lived in saudi i remember drawing a rather primitive picture of a naked woman (lots of big circley forms) with a friend of mine and putting it in another student's desk. our goal was to get him into trouble, at this point i don't recall that he had actually "done" anything that warranted this plot on our part, however, he was an annoying boy from malta, with lots of freckles, a head full corkscrew curls and he paid far more attention to me than i preferred, especially as i had to be neighbours with him at home as well as school.

there was also the time when we first moved to bahrain and were staying with some very old family friends we had known from the south africa days. their daughter was a few years older than me and had been shipped off to boarding school at aged 13. i got to stay in her room. this resulted in several hours exploring the alien teenage turf of fluorescent orange nail polish, mirrored sunglasses, make-up, and anything else that looked "grown up". for some misdirected version of my own creative grafitti expression i felt compelled to take those bottles of polish and tubes of lipstick and "enhance" her posters of nick kershaw, boy george, madonna and michael jackson. i perceived the additions as so subtle as to be undetectable. many years later i received a letter, which i ignored, asking if i knew who had put make up all over her posters.

looking back, these are all rather trivial incidents. as an adult, the actions that we take, or do not take, tend involve larger consequences than the destruction of property or character in the classroom. they do still affect other people in our lives, and we do still know that they are wrong, even as we engage in them. however, the difference is, these are now people who are important to us, as we are important to them. with confession their is an act of acknowledgement and taking responsibility for trespasses, only now it must be followed not with undoing, but with reparation.

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