In my dream I apologize to everyone I meet. Instead of introducing myself, I apologize for not knowing why I am alive. I am sorry. I am sorry. I apologize. In real life, oddly enough, when I am fully awake and out and about, if I catch someone’s eye, I quickly look away. Perhaps this too is a form of apology. Perhaps this is the form apologies take in real life. In real life the looking away is the apology, despite the fact that when I look away I almost always feel guilty; I do not feel as if I have apologized. Instead I feel as if I have created a reason to apologize, I feel the guilt of having ignored that thing – the encounter. I could have nodded, I could have smiled without showing my teeth. In some small way I could have wordlessly said, I see you seeing me and I apologize for not knowing why I am alive. I am sorry. I am sorry. I apologize. Afterwards, after I have looked away, I never feel as if I can say, Look, look at me again so that I can see you, so that I can acknowledge that I have seen you, so that I can see you and apologize.
– Claudia Rankine