A POST-MORTEM APOLOGY – BY PROXY
By Forrest Wayne Schultz
When I went to check in to the bed&breakfast inn, the proprietor informed me that my room had been paid for by another party. AND that the same party had also given me the brand new BMW parked out in the lot! After I examined the title and insurance documents, which confirmed what the proprietor had said, she handed me an envelope containing a letter from an attorney informing me that I had an appointment with him at 10 AM the following morning, at which time the source of this largesse would be revealed. Because I was extremely tired, I decided to go to bed at once and postpone any thought about this matter until tomorrow.
After a long and much needed sleep, I awoke refreshed just in time for breakfast and my trip to the attorney’s office through the beautiful spring countryside in my brand new BMW. I arrived right on time and was immediately greeted by the attorney himself and ushered in to his office. His law firm is a one-man operation, which is adequate for the legal needs of this sparsely populated rural area.
Because he sensed my intense curiosity, he got right down to business by informing me that I had an identical twin brother who had just died. I was not his “heir” in the usual sense of the word, because long ago he had made me the co-owner of all his property, so that upon his decease I automatically became the sole owner. The only thing remaining to be done was affixing my signature to the various pertinent documents. The “estate” was also quite simple: several hundred acres of farmland leased to a horse breeder plus money in a stock fund plus a bank account.
There was, though, one complicated matter involved: a letter written to me by my twin requesting, but not requiring, me to do something for him. He had deeply offended a woman and he had written a letter of apology to her but had been unable to muster up the courage to take it to her or even to mail it to her! He had placed the lawyer under obligation to arrange for the letter’s delivery to the woman after his decease. My twin’s letter to me said that he would prefer that I take his letter of apology to the woman on his behalf as his twin brother and acting as his proxy. But I was not legally bound to do this. He did request that if I agreed to do this for him, that I do so very seriously and with a willingness to beseech the woman to forgive him. He warned me that this would not be easy because this lady was a very strong person, a “power” woman, who would not permit a man to push her around. In short, this would be a difficult task for me.
I knew that this was something I ought to do for my twin. After asking the lawyer a few questions, I agreed to do it, provided that he call the woman on the phone and inform her of the matter and request to see her and introduce me to her. The lawyer agreed to do so and immediately went to the phone to call her. The woman was suspicious at first and asked the lawyer a lot of questions. She finally acceded to his request, mainly, I suppose, because this lawyer was very highly respected around here and is scrupulously honest in both his legal and personal dealings. The woman agreed to see me at once. In a few minutes we drove over to her house, the lawyer introduced me to her, and then left me with her.
She appeared to be satisfied with the honesty of the intentions both of my twin and of the lawyer. Now she asked me about mine. I confessed to her that I had a dual motivation. I felt that since my brother had been so generous in bestowing upon me all his property, that I ought to do this favor for him. And, I looked forward to meeting a “power” woman! I told her I was a semi-nerd, not a macho man like my twin, so I had no hopes on my own of getting such an opportunity to converse with a power woman like her. She smiled and said I was stronger than I supposed. As the repartee continued I was absolutely astonished to see her becoming ever more enamored with me, until she finally said that she would like to have me but she would NOT forgive my twin because what he had done to her was unforgivable.
Thereupon I scowled, stood up, and emphatically proclaimed to her: “If you refuse to forgive my twin, I am walking out of here and you will never see me again!”. As I headed for the door, she entreated me not to leave her, and said she would forgive my twin. After thoroughly interrogating her to be sure she meant it, and getting her to put her forgiveness in writing, I agreed to marry her.
We lived mostly – but not always – happily ever after, and our main secret was that of forgiving one another our trespasses against one another!