To err is human, to forgive divine, to forgive repeatedly is friendship. For the sake of our friendship I appeal to you once again to heed my words and listen to my cries. To make a mistake is one thing, but to learn from mistakes is another. I am in a state of constant flux, making mistakes and learning from them only to make further mistakes. You and I are trapped paddling helplessly in this grievous soup of error, but do not worry because I see the edge of the bowl in sight. We will escape the soup, you and I. We will persevere as long as you remember how to forgive.
I am sorry for drinking Diet Coke. There isn’t an excuse in the world that is fitting. No apology sufficient, no cause that could justify this giant mistake. Yet I must try to explain from where I come. I am not simply insane, after all. There is some cause, however ill fitting that propels my behaviour. I remember the many many times you explained to me how Diet Coke is bad for health. You slapped several cans, and one or two plastic glasses out of my hands when they contained diet coke. You raised your hands to the sky, as I bowed my head in shame. I know you were only trying to help me. I want you to know that I fully understood your explanation of how diet coke has artificial sugar and that is bad for health. I agree with you completely as we smoked cigarettes on several occasion and you forbid me from adding diet coke to the cocktail of gin and petrol I was drinking. Quite obviously nothing that exists on earth is quite as damaging to the human body as Diet Coke. I remember how everyone at the party gasped as you explained that is has ‘an effect’ on the bones. I shudder even while writing this, the fine hair on my hands stand in horror.
But let me explain how this all happened. It was a cold evening and I had made the mistake of wearing slippers to a game of football. As you know I do not play football regularly and also do not do anything regularly. I am not proficient at any sport save for throwing darts without a target (a game we played briefly when we discovered a dart, but had no dartboard -everyone wins) This particular evening I was coerced into joining a game of football because they needed another person to complete their team. My cries about how I would not be an addition, rather a subtraction to the team when unheeded. I was confident my presence negated the presence of two other players who were already on the team. This the team realised quite quickly as I tackled members from my own team and passed the ball to the other side. This isn’t something I do knowingly, it is just that my visual processing abilities do not work at high speeds. When people are running my brain abandons instinct and logic and plunges deeply into panic. It breaks down the activity I am doing to its most basic tenets. Ball, feet, running. I find myself being compelled to do any combination of these activities in a haze, a manic anxiety induced panic. A waking football sleep.
Yesterday as I came to, I realised I was running several kilometres away from the ground with a football in my hands. This was probably poor sportsmanship. I decided to apologise to my team too (don’t worry I’m writing their letter after this one), but also realised that I was very tired and thirsty. A thirsty man is an unreasonable man. There is a reason that all passions and murderous rage are called a thirst. Vengeance, revenge, lust are all thirsts. But the worst of them all is just regular thirst. I was so super thirsty, is what I’m trying to say.
I approached a shop with trembling hands. A small establishment called Suresh Stores. There was only one store, and not many stores like he claimed. I would have pointed this out to him normally if not for my extreme thirst. I walked to the proprietor (Suresh) and was about to ask for water when I noticed in a small fridge behind him, a silver glint of treacherous betrayal. A chilled metal packaging of delicious deceit. I was weak, I asked for it.
I know you will scream at me for this like you have many times before. Why have artificial sugar which has an effect on bones instead of drinking just regular coke with its several kilograms of regular sugar? It is because I am ashamed to admit that I worry about the calories it contains. I must admit that it is the same caloric concern that drove me to play football, most vile of sports. I gulped down my can of coke in a small hole I found under Suresh stores. Thinking that the darkness could hide my shame, thinking that if no one saw my guilt, then it would somehow evaporate.
But as I climbed out of the hole and tossed the can back behind me, I heard your startled gasp. I could not hide from you, I could not hide from myself, and I don’t think I can hide from the effect on my bones that this diet coke will have.
You ran away in tears before I could explain. There was too much to say and you run surprisingly fast. In fact, if you ever want to play football sometime let me know. For now I just hope you understand where I am coming from, and what series of events and personal failures led to this terrible mistake. As always, I am sorry. I am sending you several pictures of me drinking regular coke and also some etchings of me intravenously injecting sugar. These are not simply images to win you over once again, they are proof of my transformation. I want to tell you that I think you’re a fantastic person, and I mean that sincerely.
I do not indulge in artificial sweetness of any kind. Thank you.