Written last May 6, 2016 at the US Embassy.
There are times when we want to go back in time to undo some decisions that we have been made for some of the outcomes and consequences of those decisions still haunt us till the present age. We want to. We wish to. We hope to. But we can’t, hence the regrets. If we only did this and if only we did that, things would be different as they were in the present. However, we still can’t. The miseries that those memories were causing lead us to despair. They can’t be erased…the episodes that were being shown to us. They were like the inevitable that we were trying to evade and the unforgettable that we were trying to forget.
These regrets create a gaping hole in our hearts, making our lives feeling empty. They create a weight that we would be dragging along. They isolate us into making us feel so alone. We try to leave them behind, but the distance would soon reach its threshold, jerking the chains to make us aware of their presence and the weight that we left behind on the other end.
We cannot get rid of them, because they were already a part of us and of our lives. They constitute the memories which spurred us into becoming better people. They were bitter reminders to remind us to not do the same folly again. We may try to suppress them, but putting on effort will lead us nowhere with the future ahead for this will mean that we were still lingering on with the past. We cannot move on from them because forgetting them means forgetting the past which may give the contour to the present and also to the future. What should we do then? Be a much better person. Embrace and accept those weights. Be used to them. Be stronger so that these burden brought by regrets will be insignificant on your course of life. Forgive yourself but don’t forget.
Such thoughts littered my mind as I contemplate today, even now that I was queuing for my US Visa in the US Embassy. Yes, it is for certain already that I won’t be any ordinary person. My research was heralded as one of the best. I passed the Civil Engineering board exams without review. My friends who were looking up to me and already admiring my achievements of today and the day to come say so, even though it was the opposite of what I was thinking of myself. I think of myself as an elitist with an inferiority complex. I always felt that I was ordinary and I always chase on the standard that I imposed on myself.
I became a train with no brakes. I continued on going. Even I do not know why. I keep on looking for a shining beacon…a person who would become my source of inspiration…so that I can see the way, so that she can illuminate the beauty of life before my eyes, and so that I can finally see myself and the path that I made. But they kept on disappearing. It was always dark. These instances were becoming too frequent that I don’t care anymore. There were no regrets when there should be.
It was then that I realized that I was already swallowed by a much bigger kind of regret towards its dark and lonely domain. I have become an empty shell, falling into the never-ending chasm of nothingness. All the life within my heart were already gone. I cannot love anybody anymore. I was deprived of love for a long time to the point that I already forgot what it was in the first place. A platonic relationship is all that I can offer now. Even if somebody tries to patch things up, I was already empty inside. Even if somebody tries to fill my heart with love, these would all just drain out for my heart has too many holes to be able to cater such things in the first place.
I have become a burning flame which gives light but warns people not to get close. I have become a person who can’t reciprocate all the love that were given. I have become a person who doesn’t see what others feel. I am now that horrible and scary person, driven by personal ambition and hunger for public service. To think that these were all because of regrets is unfathomable.
What kind of regret was it? Is it because of the downfall of the student organizations that I built? Is it because of being involved directly in politics? Is it because of all the girls that I coldly turned down? Is it because of the chances of being laid that I turned down? This is the dark and sinister side of me, behind the smiles, behind the innocence, and behind my facade. I don’t have regrets over those things because I welcomed with open arms all the consequences of those actions.
Then what is that regret? What is that greatest regret of mine that became the paradigm shift of character and outlook of life? It was a simple act that I failed to do. It was a pure intention that I failed to convey. It was a simple decision that I failed to choose wisely. It was an obvious sign that I failed to see. It was such a simple act that was forever taken away from me. It was a life’s decision after all: whether it will turn out better or worse.
It happened exactly five years ago on May 6, 2011. I just wanted to go back to that day to strangle my past self for being too oblivious. Well, we can’t blame him. He was treading on thin ice at that time. He was anxious on what the girl who he was courting currently thought of him that time. He can’t read obvious signals yet he was given a mixed one.
Earlier that day, he accompanied that girl to fetch the laundry. Having confessed to her indirectly four days ago, the girl was too wary of the intimacy that they were showing to each other. In a jester tone, she shoved away the boy and drew an imaginary line to indicate her comfortable distance from him. The boy took it literally and complied.
He was confused and gloomy. He played the grand piano in their dormitory’s lobby slowly and single-noted as he tried to process what was happening? Was he getting closer or were things going for the worse? He contemplated to the point that he forgot that he had classes to attend.
The girl emerged on the lobby with some of her things packed on her back. And like a puppy that saw its master, the boy quickly joined her on her trip home to Manila. It was a hot and humid afternoon. They boy told her to ride an airconditioned bus. And they did. The girl settled into an afternoon nap while the boy constantly kept at watch.
The bus had its cycle of stops and go’s. It was a lengthy trip. The girl’s head swayed back and forth. Her head was like a marble resting on a flat surface where it moves to where the surface was declined to. The boy had a hard time seeing her like that. The boy was indecisive. He was stuck on deciding whether he would rest her head against his shoulder while reminding himself of the girl’s warning on maintaining her comfortable distance.
Yes, it is my greatest regret: not having Myrtle’s head rest against my shoulder on that faithful day. Things turned to the worse after that. Up till now, I kept wondering on what it would feel like: the girl of my dreams having a dream on my shoulder. What would it feel like? I kept asking myself. I will never know and I will never will. Would things have gone for the better if I were to do that? I will never know and I will never will. For an hour, it was like that, like a chance that I could easily grab but never seized. Will I get another chance? I will never know and I will never will.