I missed a few days in the blogsphere, but there was a Daily Prompt I wanted to address. This one asked – What’s your biggest regret? How would your life have been different if you’d made another decision?
I want to address this one, because journaling my thoughts is a good way to access them. And I believe in maintaining a completely honest and open approach to this blog. A vulnerable approach, even. And I may become a little vulnerable with this one. But I like that feeling.
I tend not to look at any past events as ‘regrets’. Those things to me are what I would generally refer to as ‘lessons’. Having said that, I made a decision once based on morals and not the heart. So, it was a lesson as well, but certainly the closest thing I have to an official regret. It was perhaps a little bit of what sparked my New Years Resolution to be more selfish. It’s a tricky one though, because although I have had the moral clash, I still stick by them and don’t know if I could turn on them, even if I had this chance over again.
The good news is, it is not necessarily irreversible. But we’ll get to that at the end.
About a year ago, last September, a friend was having a few drinks in the city for his birthday. I never caught up with the guy outside playing soccer with him, and he is a terrific bloke, so I wanted to. We weren’t playing on the same team anymore, so we never saw each other. It was a good chance to catch up.
I almost didn’t go. That night my housemate and I could barely be bothered going. It was all the way in the city, and we were feeling pretty lazy. We talked ourselves into it though. We did want to catch up with the guy.
We got there and the bouncer wouldn’t let us into the pub. It was a bit odd. We were dressed nice enough, and there were blokes basically wearing rags walking out of the pub while we stood there on the sidewalk.
We almost went home. We rang our mate and explained our predicament as we were walking back to the car. He said bollocks to that, he’d rather drag his mates out of the pub and go elsewhere to drink than send us home.
So we turned back around to meet him. While we were waiting for him and his crew to emerge from the establishment, one of his friends turned up. A very attractive woman. I forget how we knew we were looking for the same people, but we worked it out. That’s not the important part anyway.
Now, at first sight, I thought she was gorgeous, sure. And with first conversation I thought she was my kind of people. But I wouldn’t say I was hook, line and sinker straight off the bat. I think I’d assumed she was there with someone. And at that point, I wasn’t single, either.
Anyway, point is, I thought nothing of anything at this point. I wasn’t interested in meeting anyone. I hadn’t even bothered to shave!
We all went to another bar. A little dive joint. I really liked the place. We all ended up in an upstairs room, and it was mostly just the birthday crew there.
I didn’t really know anyone except my housemate, so when he ended up talking to our mate with the birthday over in some corner of the bar, I was left kind of just floating. It wasn’t planned, but somehow this gorgeous lady and myself ended up seated next to each other, so we struck up a conversation.
Well, you hear people say things like “I’ve never met anyone like them before,” and “we were connected instantly like kindred spirits as if we’d known each other for forever.” I never bought into that crap. Damn, you hear people say that, too. Suffice to say, I had to stop myself from using those phrases later that night.
We got along instantly. We were on the same wavelength. It was strange. We seemed to be thinking the exact same thing at all times. We had the same sense of humour, and sense of, well, everything. We were so connected spiritually (for lack of a better word) that it really wasn’t until after we parted that I realised, “hey, she was absolutely beautiful, too.”
Bare with me as I try to explain it…
We had a lot of odd things in common. I don’t mean like, “oh, you’re left-handed too?” Nope, random connections. Like, she was born in the tiny town in England that my mum was born in. Her dad and I both started with degrees in Zoology and then leaped to teaching secondary science. (At that point I still was teaching.) One weird one, was when she likened something I said to sounding like a quote from a Jim Jarmusch film, when that week, I had finished writing a screenplay based on myself I had penned with Jim Jarmusch in mind. No joke.
Those are just a couple tidbits I remember. We spoke for a couple hours. She was basically the only person I spoke to all night. It was fascinating that we just seemed like the same people. We both learned a lot about each other in a very short time frame. And we wanted to. Which was weird. Ice-breaking conversations and small talk bores me to buggery. But this wasn’t like that at all. I don’t even know how to explain what it was actually like.
And now at the risk of being cliche, I can honestly say I have never, and will never meet anyone like her, or that I connect with on the same level. I don’t see it as possible. I’ve met an awful lot of people, and that was… weird… different… amazing.
What happened? Well, we exchanged numbers and agreed to stay in touch. A few emails were sent. She shared her artwork and I shared some writing. But I couldn’t keep up the correspondence for more than a couple weeks in good conscience.
I was developing feelings for her. And I wasn’t single.
To be honest, I knew it was going to happen. And I knew I was going to stay faithful to my girlfriend of 18 months rather than follow my heart. Gee, sounds like an obvious decision now, doesn’t it? And my housemate knew I knew it, because I was freaking out that night.
After the party had finished and we all parted ways, my housemate and I made the short walk to China Town to grab some late-night dinner. I was jittery. Like, proper jittery. I felt sick. Sick with a mixture of excitement and a dilemma. I couldn’t handle having to make the decision of “if there’s something here with someone who is basically perfect for me, can I leave my girlfriend for her?” I never thought I would have to make a decision like that. I didn’t want to be that guy. I felt like I was betraying my girlfriend, simply by asking myself that question.
On a side-note, that’s why I remain single with absolutely no plan to start dating anyone. I realized there was actually something missing from all my other relationships. Something that actually existed and was obtainable. Something I hadn’t been able to qualify until that encounter. There was a connection there that my relationships had lacked. And now that I knew it existed, there was no way I could in good conscience enter into a relationship without knowing it was there.
Anyway, back to the dinner. I remember my housemate and I sitting in the Chinese restaurant, and I was just shaking. I never leave food on the table. Never. I think I had two mouthfuls. I was freaking out trying to work out what to do. My housemate said, “I have never seen you smile like that at any point. When you were talking to her, you seemed… right.”
And he was right. And although he wouldn’t encourage me to leave my girlfriend, I knew what he was getting at, and he was right about that, too.
But of course, I didn’t. I instead broke communication with this dream-woman and continued trying to give my all to my current relationship. But of course, it failed 8 months later. And now I am without anyone. Serves me right I guess.
So that is my one regret. Though, I may have trouble doing anything differently a second time around. I guess I’ve tried to avoid that by wanting to avoid another relationship unless of course I experience that same connection again.
But, as I mentioned at the start of this… essay (sorry ’bout that)… perhaps it is not necessarily irreversible. I mean, I still have her contact details. And I know she would be excited to hear that I have decided to chase the dream and make my writing a profession. (Something we had talked about in depth).
So, maybe I’ll have to keep you all posted. Perhaps I may still overturn this one regret…