Regrets are terrible things. They’re like pieces of glass littering a beach. As you roam back over your memories it’s all warm and soft until you feel the sharp slice of them through your feet. They hold so much power. What could my life have been if only I had followed my heart, held my nerve, chased my dreams? The path you took will never be as exciting or fulfilling as the one that passed you by.
The Thai and I are officially dating and yet the Friend is still cluttering up my head. One night we’re chatting in my living room and she exclaims out of nowhere, “what are we going to do?” “About what?” I ask and she doesn’t reply. I read into everything she says, pawing through the pages of her words, hoping to find the beginnings of a love story.
This can’t continue, this not knowing. The Thai deserves my undivided attention. I can’t keep peering over her shoulder looking for someone in the wings; half in half out, poised to bolt as soon as I get the nod. It’s like a horrible threesome but with more sadness and confusion and less orgasms.
I need to do something. I need to know. Is it all in my head? So, I write her a letter, telling her that I have feelings for her, that I think this could be amazing. I give it to her just before we both leave for Christmases abroad; 3 weeks of enforced separation that could be relief or torture depending on her response.
She replies the next day and her message is full of compassion and empathy – but no love. I’m “a dear friend” and she respects my courage but I’ve “misread the signals” from her end. I force myself to read through the whole wretched thing from start to finish, sucking up every hateful word, feeling them burn down my gullet like matchsticks. See, she doesn’t feel the same way so stop fucking about I scream at my shattered heart.
The next few days are all pain. Then the few after that are all anger. There should have been no signals for me to misread I blaze as the love in my veins cools and clots into tight little balls of fury. I go to my hotel gym and run as hard as I can, as if I can sweat this woman out of my head. Get out. Get out. GET OUT.
Every now and then I think but maybe… and then quickly shake my head like a buffalo ridding itself of a pesky fly. No maybes. I asked. She answered. If I hold onto hope now, even just a scrap, it will muddy all of my relationships to come. This ends now.
I don’t do regrets. I’d rather do something stupid – take a risk, make a fool of myself, make a mistake – than look back in the years to come and think, ‘if only…’ Life is too precious to squander it wishing and hoping and loving with no end in sight. I don’t want to be that old woman, picking over my memories, trying to avoid the glass. When the time comes, I want to be running down the beach so fast I’m practically flying.
The truth will set you free.