Smoke, Whiskey, and Regret

“What’s wrong?”

I was staring at my hand. My fingers had gone numb. The doctor had said this could happen, but I hadn’t expected it so soon.

“No, it’s nothing,” I said. “What did you say?”

“I asked if there was anything you regretted.”

“Oh,” I said. “We’ve hit that part of the evening, have we?”

She laughed.

“I just want to know if it ever drives your stories, that’s all.”

“Does it ever drive yours?”

She blew a ring of smoke into the air.

“It does,” she said. “But we’re not talking about me.”

I looked at my glass of whiskey. I thought of a lonely night and the pitter-patter of rain, and of sitting with a girl in front of an apartment full of memories like colors on a palette. I thought of how we’d painted a picture with the past; a picture neither of us could finish.

I thought of a funeral that marked the passing of time with the loss of a life. I thought of how important it was to live in the present, but how living in one present had robbed me of another.

I thought of the promises I’d made and the promises I’d broken, and how some hearts mended and other hearts didn’t. I thought of how life went on anyway and we went on with it, and how we all lived with the scars that came with our decisions.

I thought of a doctor I didn’t want to see, and news I didn’t want to hear, and a relationship that now came with a timer, slowly ticking down towards some unknown sadness.

I saw all of it like fingers on a hand I couldn’t seem to feel anymore.

“Are we defining regrets as moments in time that could have gone differently, but didn’t?” I said.

“Well, that’s what they are, aren’t they?”

“Hm. In that case, I guess I don’t have that many regrets.”

I looked at my hand again.

Moments in time that could have gone differently.

Regrets.

And I wondered if I would come to think of this evening, and the events that transpired within it, as the former or the latter.

cc : @snippets

Love J.