i regret not flying out to dc that august.
i regret not figuring out sooner that she was just using me and never really loved me.
i regret not sticking up for myself more often. i've always been a dab hand at sticking up for my mates, but always seem to allow others to maul me.
i regret not having sex with lara. she clearly wanted it, and i was simply hiding behind false morals that i would later completely discard.
i regret not hitting him harder.
i regret not picking up smoking and drinking sooner. granted, i quit smoking, but i might've enjoyed it longer had i only but launched into my smoking career earlier on.
i regret not following my pal tom to an english-teaching job in buenos aires after i returned home. i might've severed ties with my controlling and strict dad and stepmom sooner.
but possibly one of my biggest regrets, though it may seem small and silly to you, the non-existant reader, is not helping carl deutsch pick up his papers that damp school day.
i was, inequivocably, a huge nerd in school. this made me a semi-pariah, though i had a half-way decent personality, so i actually enjoyed quite a few friendships with more popular kids.
but there were levels even below my own. there were the greasy, pock-faced kids who drew comics about all the ways to harm a cat and would grow up to become serial killers.
carl deutsch fell below even these untouchables. he was a lumbering, oddly-proportioned beast of a kid with a huge limp that required him to wear orthopedic shoes. he was extremely shy, backwards, and rarely interacted with anyone other than his brother, who was twice as lumbering and smelly, and loud and domineering to boot.
my friend and i were already running late, and were quickly covering the distance between the gym locker rooms and the building where the rest of the classes were held. carl was on his way to the gym, and running even more late than we were, further hindered by his slow, limping pace.
as the tardy bell rang, carl dropped a stack of homework papers out of his pee chee onto the gravel dangerously close to a mud puddle. my friend and i heard his groan. a groan that seemed to carry a pain with it that breached a simple homework spill and flowed over into the very anguish and melancholy of his soul.
time freezes, corporeal objects melt away, and i am hanging in space with two other beings, one near my side, the other hunkering down to scoop up college-ruled sheets. it's as if an angel itself has flown down in front of me to say, "you're no spiderman or incredible hulk, darth, but here is a moment to don your armor and become a hero beyond your wildest dreams."
my friend and i paused in our flight for a moment, quickly eyeing the situation. we both seemed to be thinking the same thing: help carl with his papers.
and as i drew in breath to voice this shared thought, my friend said, "oh well, we're already late, we better get to class."
and i followed him into the building.
now, i am sure that carl never even knew that we had seen him drop his papers. my regret isn't borne of guilt for having slammed someone who got it on a daily basis. what still bothers me and makes me kick myself is this: i knew he had dropped the papers. that i had a chance to make a difference, and pissed it away.
who knows how that one small sign of compassion might've changed his life? probably not one bit. it's very likely, truth be told, that it would have made no difference whatsoever.
but if i could travel back in time, i would stand just inside the door of the school and tell myself to get the fuck back out there and pick up those papers or i would kick my sorry ass.
and i regret not really doing this story and carl deutsch the justice they deserve.
thanks for tagging along on that one.