Have you ever used the word “never”, together with an action? You know. When you’ve had a bad experience. Maybe you were disappointed. Or frustrated. Or hurt. Or just plain pissed off. Like, “I’ll never call her again”. Or, “I’ll never go back to that restaurant again”. Or, “I’ll never be able to trust you again”.
I think it’s safe to assume most of us have at some point in our lives.
In my case, it was when I was a kid. Maybe ten years old. A school friend had invited me to go over to her house after school; and to stay for dinner.
The kitchen was a royal mess. Dishes piled up in the sink. Stuff all over the counters. Crumbs everywhere. I was really sorry my mother had said I could stay. While I was busy trying to figure out how I could get out of it, and go home, her mother slapped a few pieces of bologna between two pieces of white bread, doused it all with Ketchup, and stuck it on a plate. A plate I was afraid to look at too closely, in case it was dirty.
Bologna was never a favourite of mine. The filthy kitchen made me very queasy. It was all totally unappealing.
Good manners prevailed, though. I managed to shove at least some of the sandwich down my throat, with the help of a lot of juice. And a lot of prayers. I get the chills thinking about it, even now.
When I got home I told my parents my tale of woe. And then I said, “I will NEVER go to her house again.”
Immediately, at exactly the same time, both my mother and father said exactly the same thing: “Fransi, never say “never”. Never is a very long time.” In other words, who knows what might happen down the road. You might change your mind some day.
It’s stuck with me, all these years.
Every time I’m about to utter those words — “I’ll never” — and trust me, there’s been a lot of them — I think of that night. I hear my parents. And I stop myself. At least 99% of the time. There may be the odd slip up, but it’s very rare. Because they were right. While I didn’t ever go back to that friend’s house, there have been countless times since then, when I’ve thought about never doing something or seeing someone or going somewhere again; and then, weeks or months or years later, I have.
So I’m kind of hard pressed to come up with a response to this past Wednesday’s WordPress Daily Prompt: “Tell us about a thing you’ll never write about”.
There are lots of topics I’ve surprised myself by writing about. I’ve shared a fair bit of personal stuff on this blog. I wouldn’t have thought I’d have ever done that. But I never said I never would. So there’s no egg on my face. I haven’t had to eat those words. Back track. Do a mea culpa. Make excuses.
Which means I really can’t say there’s anything I’ll never write about. Because I don’t really know, do I? Today, right this minute, there are things I’m not prepared to write about. Like how much money I have (or don’t have) in the bank. Way too personal. Like confidences friends have shared with me, having sworn me to secrecy. A betrayal.
Or about how I assembled a chest of drawers from IKEA all by myself. Because it would be a complete lie. I couldn’t do it even if I had help.
Where do you net out on “never”?