The time you snuck out to see that band at that bar (you were sixteen), your parents, you suddenly realize, knew you left the house—how could they not?—just like they knew you came home very late, on a school night, drunk. They knew you'd dented the bumper. They knew you used drugs. It's not that they ever didn't know—you didn't get away with anything—they simply forgave you, over and over. Your manager knew you stole. Your boyfriend knew you had sex with that guy that night. In this instant, you see that never, not once in your life, did you ever really, truly get away with anything—all your transgressions were registered and, somehow, absorbed, not-quite-but-in-a-way forgotten. First you think: The people in my life are so much kinder than I am. I'm so lucky. Then, staring at the postcard on the counter, you think, no, it's not even that you're lucky, but that everyone, every other human being, has this capacity, a capacity you lack, some resilient, willed ignorance or blindness you didn't, until just now, know existed. You think—and this is strange—about a moment in the future, maybe three or four years off, when you will be sorting through all this old mail, getting ready to move again, when, you think, you will see this postcard and wonder why you've kept it, and you will, all that time later, you can see, decide to just throw it out. For now, though, you put it back on the counter; you may want to look at it again.
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