Despite the frivolity, I feel a sharp pang of shame whenever I remember that story. I know people who, when similarly in the wrong, can easily convince themselves the episode never happened; often, I envy them. Because who doesn’t want to be forgotten at times? Often, though, even when we forget, other people’s memories bear witness against us, like a time capsule preserving, in a shroud of indifference, their own record of what happened. Years later, we relive some episode with a spouse or child or sibling, and our version of things, corrupted by bias and self-interest over the years, looks pathetic next to the other’s immaculate memory. The record of our wrongdoings we can gradually wear away in our memory for years; it’s the external record which pins us down: no exit.

From Mockingbird on the regret of betrayal.

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