The Sorry Teds
Jensen Whelan

Outside that town you have never visited is a mountain. You have definitely seen it on maps, or maybe from the interstate that runs just to the east. It is hard to miss. In the shadow of the mountain in a place that gets almost no sun there are four small cabins. In these cabins live the sorry Teds. At first the Teds did not understand what they had done. They were angry Teds. Slighted and hurt. They cursed you under their breath, called you names they would rather not repeat here. Then slowly -- very, very slowly -- they began to unravel the truth about what happened. They want you to know that they get it now. The Teds apologize for everything. They are so ashamed. These days the sorry Teds almost never leave the comfort of their mountain. They chop firewood and grow vegetables. One of the Teds suggested getting some livestock -- a few chickens, a sheep, maybe a milk cow -- but none of the Teds knew how to care for these animals so instead they drive into town once a week for fresh produce and meats. The sorry Teds miss you. Some of them are melancholy; some of them are generally happy if they manage to ignore your memory. Usually they cannot. They think about you often. The wind reminds them of the way you smelled, like a spilled bottle of lavender hand soap. Some of the Teds think that you will always be like spring time because that is when you first met, but others will always think of you as early fall because that is the last time you saw each other. Both these assessments have their detractors among the Teds. They all agree, though, that the cold winters remind them what it felt like when you were angry with them. The sorry Teds are not altogether certain that you even remember what happened. But they cannot forget and they need you to know. The sorry Teds are sorry.