I first forgave myself in second grade. As I was drawn to new interests, I became aware of myself and the rich playground my earlier me – may I call this me “he”? – had constructed in me. I had outgrown him, and we both knew it.
It is difficult to distinguish between these two of me, even now, because it is the affection between the two, the finding of one only within the other, that led me to discover either of them. Sunday I saw an old couple whisper as if their parents might catch them. I wouldn’t have seen either of them – or either them or their parents – without their whisper, which I couldn’t make out. Pain requires only birth, but poignancy requires the separation of twins.
I heard the sweetest words from my earlier me that first day, walking my school’s playground in what I first knew then to be loneliness: “I forgive you.” And poignant, too: he said them, walked away from me, and ceased to be.
Mr. Trump called last night’s debate “elegant,” and poignancy is an elegant sadness. Years from now, perhaps, he will remember Mr. Cruz, that embodiment of strict construction. Strictly speaking, of course, no one can embody words; that’s the point of strict construction. Words, like cries like tears, don’t carry a human presence. As Mr. Trump finished off the Constitution, calling a billion brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers not human at all, Mr. Cruz seemed to whisper, as he faded away, “I forgive you.”
Note: this post appeared first on Instagram @peterstephens