Secretly, I believe, people crave forgiveness for wrongs they have committed in the past. The cause, reasoning, or consequences fade with time and all that is left is the desperate need to feel that they had not committed a crime against their own humanity. Years and years of deluding oneself into thinking that they were never at fault, that circumstances were stacked, that the foolishness of youth is what pulled them to their knees. Years of begging and pleading with themselves, sobbing at the pathetic feelings, and angry chips on shoulders that never stop piling up... Years of that will break the toughest of cookies and crack the strongest of masks.

Small, childlike hands will reach out and try to give a peace offering. Small, childlike hands are continually smacked away. The sting is always the same, but the small, childlike mind that comes with these hands never quite gets used to the feeling. It's uncomfortable. For a child all things can be seen as forgiven. With enough time and persistence all offenses can be forgiven. Forgiveness is a word, but not much more in the mind of a child. It's something that makes the bad feelings go away. The process of forgiveness and the deeper implications that come with forgiveness... These do not exist to a child.

As a teenager aggression takes over. Forgiveness is something that SHOULD be given. Forgiveness is demanded. Forgiveness is something that the teenager will not admit that she needs, because to need from another would indicate weakness... and weaknesses are not part of the life of a carefree teenager. It's too soft. It notes the darker things that the teenager refuses to admit to. Of course the teenager will admit to angst. That is fitting in this time of mix signals, hormones, and wild mood swings. Teenagers are invincible. Mortality? That's for the cranky adults, who of course, have no idea what it is like to be a teenager.

Adulthood is when all things are examined again. The foolishness of the teenage stage is shameful and the adult wishes to quickly forget it. As an adult we will turn inside ourselves. We were weak! We've done things that were wrong... and we must, like the child, seek out that forgiveness again. We focus on our own short comings, which to the adult mind that recognizes fault, are far too many to number. It's crushing. It's suffocating. So we reach, with hands much like the child like hands, and have these hands smacked away. The progression of time will either harden or soften the heart of the offended. The sting, however, is still the same but with added implications that the child could not understand. The adult has a grasp on the implications of forgiveness. No one can pass through these stages without being offended. Without spoken or unspoken crimes being committed. The adult has to ask for forgiveness, but also has to slap hands or take them. Take hands in a vice or with the ghost of a grip. Nonetheless, the adult is posed with the question of forgiveness and what exactly it means.

The senior has come to terms with what has happened. There is none of the heavy emotion that was felt in previous stages. There is softness, bitterness, and lightness. The stones are either crushing the ribcage or being lifted, allowing new and sorely missed air into the lungs of the senior. The senior has realized the futility of asking from some people. The senior doesn't put her wither hands out anymore. If forgiveness could not be given when she asked, continually, then it is not her place to ask anymore... but the offended's place to reach and grasp her withered hands. The senior is currently telling herself that all we ever are is alone. We are alone. To coil further back into the introspective mind is what we do best. The senior was meant to exist alone and to hope more for more than what the senior can provide for herself is to hope for too much. To hope is too much. Hope hurts. Hope is betrayal.

I commune with the dead. These people no longer exist to me, for I do not speak to them on a regular basis. I have never seen, touched, or heard some of these individuals. Yet a place in my heart is always open to them. People move into my heart, stay, and leave. Sometimes the move is painful and met with great resistance. Sometimes the movement is so quiet and slow that I had not realized they had left until the emptiness is felt. There is no longer the warmth, scent, or noise that came from the occupant. It's just an empty room. I've no locked doors to some individuals, mostly the ones that had left quietly and for reasons unknown. Some doors are locked and nailed shut, condemned rooms... but still the room remains unoccupied. I don't believe in replacements. I've been replaced. I don't like how it feels and I do my best, with years to come to realizations, to avoid replacing individuals. It's a disastrous affair.

I've left hundreds of letters for these occupants. I send flowers and pictures. I write of my latest achievements and disasters to these special people. Even when the move was painful, there was glimmer of hope that these people would move back in. I sit outside the door and wait to be let in. I sit inside these empty rooms for hours on end. I talk to myself, holding imaginary conversations with the ghosts of the inhabitants. I can hear my voice echo, but I'm waiting for someone to pop out from the closet and say it was one terrible joke. I continue the relationship as if nothing ever happened, and the former occupants are none the wiser. They've passed away, died, in one sense or another. In multiple senses. They have left of their own volition because of me, stress, or just lack of desire. I have forced them to leave, despite the forever unresolved lack of resolve regarding the matter, because of what and who I believe myself to be. This opinion is forever changing. I may perceive myself to be someone entirely different the next day, but what I've said always does the damage. My child like hands always complete the tasks to which they are unconsciously set, these tasks will be explained soon enough.

It takes a better person than myself to come back to me and offer forgiveness.

Sometimes, and with great effort, time, and thought... I've realized that I've been reaching my child like, teenage, and adult hands to no one other than myself. I've begged, cried, and raged against myself for forgiveness.

I've sought out other... parties for forgiveness that I knew was not coming. I knew before I thought, spoke, and typed the first word. Rejection sets a pattern though. Rejection is safe when I am the one to initiate it. When I am sure of rejection I am safe. When I am unsure things quickly spiral out of hand. It's nervousness and anxiety and desperate outpouring of feelings because someone, someone I feel a special bond with, needs to listen to me. Child like hands grasp onto these special individuals, and more often than not, choke the person. The situation quickly rises to a climax and then dies. I've successfully killed the relationship. I have ensured rejection now. I have made myself safe again.

The truth of the situation is that most people don't care to fight through it all to reach what is really setting beneath it all.

Being above it all is fashionable. To be above it all is seen as adult. Isn't that what we aspire to be? To be adult?