When I was a child I loved the game, “Sorry!” It’s a simple board game that consists of a deck of numbered cards drawn to navigate a player’s gamepiece around the board from “home” to the finish. Also included in the deck are “Sorry” cards that allow a player to replace another player’s gamepiece with their own and send the other player back to “home.” The moral lessons tucked inside the box are free with purchase.
One evening when I was around 7 or 8, I convinced my parents to join me for our 546th game of Sorry. Bless their patience. I prepared the board, shuffling the cards, and likely selecting the blue gamepiece for myself. In the process of shuffling I caught a glimpse of the first two cards: a “Sorry” and a “1.” The “1” card is noteworthy because it allows a player to remove their gamepiece from “home” in order to start their journey around the board. Naturally, I swapped the “Sorry” and the “1” so the “Sorry” would be the second card drawn. Probably I chuckled an evil chuckle to myself and sat back to watch my plan unfold.
My parents joined me at the board, and I very graciously invited my dad to go first. I happened to be sitting to his left, so I’d draw second. Dad, perhaps surprised that I hadn’t challenged him to a footrace or something for the advantage of drawing first, drew the “1” card. Such good fortune! He’d be ahead of the game, getting out of “home” on his first draw! But, alas, this good fortune would not last. I feigned surprise when I drew the “Sorry!” card, gleefully knocking his gamepiece off the board with a flick of my skinny wrist, like a little sociopath in training.
Dad’s luck never turned around, and I won that game in record time. As this result became inevitable, my joy in winning waned. I felt dread in the pit of my stomach. I may have even voluntarily skipped a turn. After that game, the gaping chasm that had once held my sense of right and wrong caused me physical pain. As my mom sat with me in the soft light of my grey and pink kitten lamp later that night, she could tell something was bothering me. I burst into tears and confessed the entirety of my wicked plot. Mom suggested I apologize to my dad and ask him to forgive me. I probably didn’t agree to that right away, but I did end up following her back out to the living room.
Mom would have told Dad that I had something to talk to him about. He would have gotten up to turn off the T.V. I’m sure I was standing there in the doorway covered in snot and hiccupping. In the way I still do, I likely let loose a stream of words that sounded like they were racing to be first out of my mouth, just to get it over with.
I remember Dad hugged me and told me that he wasn’t mad. He said he was proud of me for telling the truth even though it was hard and no one would have ever known. I remember sleeping like a baby that night.