July 17, 2012 in Sad
You will fall in and out of love, jealousy will ebb and flow, angry will wane, sorrow will pass but regret; it stays with you forever.
Eight weeks ago, I received the news that my former co-worker and friend was killed in a freak motorcycle accident. Six weeks ago, my mother called to let me know that my cousin, my favorite cousin, was found dead in his apartment. Today, an old boyfriend died of cancer.
I regret not staying in touch with Russell more often. He was a nice person but an aggressive driver. My cousin Brent was a true sweetheart, and a musical genius. He, however, had his demons, which he squelched in Jack Daniels. I regret not realizing how bad it was and that his new start in life in California should have included me watching out for him in a better way.
That leads me to Mark.
I don’t regret being his girlfriend. He walked me to every class even if it meant being late to his own, insisting on carrying my books. At 16, he was six foot and 190 lbs., a high school football coach’s dream and he played the sport very well. He ate lunch with me every day and drove me home after school so I wouldn’t have to walk. He treated me well and with respect.
By all intents and purposes, Mark was the perfect boyfriend — just not the perfect boyfriend for me.
In high school, I wasn’t as assertive as I am now. Maybe that is something a woman learns with age. I tried breaking it off with Mark, several times, but I couldn’t get my point across. When I did try the direct approach, he hit my locker out of frustration so hard it bent. I didn’t try again.
Then prom approached and I really wanted to go. Mark, on the other hand did not. He didn’t want to spend the money and simply wouldn’t take me.
My friends convinced me that if I wanted to go, I should go with someone else. I ended up agreeing to that idea and instead of letting my current boyfriend know, I decided I would just go to the dance and not tell him.
Brilliant plan, right?
If I close my eyes, 28 years later, I am in the high school cafeteria. Four tables from the lunch line and one row over, that is where we ate lunch, he the only guy around my friends. I’m sitting on the end of the table, closest to the lockers, my back facing them and Mark on the opposite side, just like every other day. The black t-shirt drawn tight against a well developed chest, Levi blue jeans and well worn white tennis shoes and those deep blue eyes laughing at me as he leans his arms across the table to hold my hands.
The chatter of young girls barely rises above the noise of the large common area and the idle talk rolls for most of the lunch. Then it happens.
Someone slips up and asks if I am excited about going to the prom. Everything goes silent. It literally goes silent, and all I can focus on is the blackness and crestfallen look on his face. His lips pierce together and the words are low and cold as he speaks.
“You are going to prom with someone else?”
It was all I could say. For months I had tried breaking it off and here it was: the end.
He let go of my hands, got up, swept up his books and walked away. He did not say another word and we never spoke again.
In May of 1984, I went to prom with someone else, and had a wonderful time; it even snowed. Girls in thin dress and guys in tuxedos raced to their cars as the snow gently fell down. The next morning, a record had been broken for the latest snowfall. It was a magical night. I told myself I had no regrets, but that would be short lived.
The next year, my last year of high school, I had a different boyfriend. One that did not walk me to class, or carry my books, or make sure I had a ride home. Yes he was a lot different.
Today, Mark died of pancreatic cancer, something he only found out he had a month ago. As I read all the posts of those who knew him, he turned out to be a good father, a good husband, and a good a man.
I had made a promise that if I ever got the chance to speak to him, I would tell him I was sorry. He didn’t deserve the way it ended, he deserved better and the actions of a foolish teenage girl had plagued a woman her whole life. Sadly, that chance will never come.
Yes regret, it stays with you forever.