(Very) Abstract Regret

By the time I realized stupid I had been, she was already in love with me. Not, I don’t think, because of anything I had actually done, but because of the circumstances. Because we talked in the rain until our bus almost left us behind. Because she fell asleep against me on the bus; and I could have moved- woken her up as I went to sit with my best friend instead, but that would have been rude. Right? In hindsight that would have been kinder, easier, simpler. She would have gotten the message. But I was exhausted and shortsighted and I hesitated, until I fell asleep too.

Because we sat in my car out of the cold and the rain until her dad came. And when she asked for my number I didn’t just say, “I would, but I have to hurry up and get home.” She would have gotten the message.

Because we watched a movie at her house with two of our best friends, who as it turned out were a couple. Four people. One couch. A three-hour movie.

But for all that I really did do everything I could think of- save telling her to her face I didn’t like her back- to try to lose her interest. I guess that whole saying that ‘love is blind’ wasn’t just the nonsensical child of some romantic’s right-side brain. That’s usually how I write off most aphorisms. Not that I can talk; if ever I can’t find my heart on my sleeve I start worrying it’s missing, but I digress….

Midas was almost as good as me at turning everything he touched to stone. And even though the girl he killed wasn’t a romantic interest, our two situations are still principally the same. We accidentally hurt someone we cared about, but with the best intentions. The difference is that for Midas, there was a time of perfect happiness when wherever he went, he made things better. His kingdom blossomed, his people flourished. On the other hand, I live in real life, and I was never rich. Or a king. But again, I digress.

Romeo Montague flippantly wooed an impressionable girl with tragic consequences. Namely, poison and a dagger through the heart. While my situation wasn’t nearly as dramatic and I tried not to leave an impression on the girl (who also wasn’t thirteen), her heart was still pierced and I’m still regretful.

The one thing I’d wish you would take from this is that a heart isn’t something to play with. It isn’t something to ignore but neither is it something to indulge. Doing so almost invariably leads to regret, which weighs on your steps, your pen and paper, even your dreams.

“Then Saul said, ‘I have sinned. Return, my son David, for I will not harm you again because my life was precious in your sight this day. Behold, I have played the fool and have committed a serious error.'” -1 Samuel 26:21













5 thoughts on “(Very) Abstract Regret

  1. I liked how you captured my attention immediately with your first sentence and made me want to read more. I noticed how you ended this with a Bible verse (like I also did for mine). I wondered if you hurt this girl by eventually having to tell her that you didn’t like her back? I would suggest staying away from girls for a while…they’re nothing but drama. Also, making a mistake in one of your posts every once in a while wouldn’t kill you, and it would certainty make my life easier haha. Strong words/phrases were “…if ever I can’t find my heart on my sleeve I start worrying it’s missing…” and “Doing so almost invariably leads to regret, which weighs on your steps, your pen and paper, even your dreams”

    Like always, great job Phillip

    • This is for Rachel, who considers it most challenging to find suggestions for Phillip (which is a high compliment). The first sentence reads thus: “By the time I realized stupid I had been.” We all have areas where we can improve. Phillip has a great reputation as a writer. Only God makes no mistakes. 😉

  2. I liked how you kept my interest through the whole post.
    I noticed that this was another post about love.
    I wondered how old you were when this happened if the girl wasn’t even 13.
    I would suggest saying who Midas was.
    strong words and phrases “I guess that whole saying that ‘love is blind’ wasn’t just the nonsensical child of some romantic’s right-side brain. That’s usually how I write off most aphorisms.”
    good job!

  3. I noticed that you said that that Midas turned things to stone when he actually turned them to gold.Also he didn’t kill the girl;he was able to get her back .
    I liked how open you were about your mistake.
    I would suggest a brief description of Midas’s story; some people might not know the myth.
    I wondered if it was a good idea to use a mythological character, although it was really smart.I never would have thought of that.
    Strong words were “flippantly” and “nonsensical”.

  4. The repetition of “because…” is effective here. The self-questioning is endearing and universal. It is impressive that you keep this out of the realm of sappy. It feels heavy, which it should because no matter how old we are, a heartbreak is a heartbreak. You do well to treat the experience with respect and solemnity. This language is simpler than your usual. That’s not a detraction. I think it suits the subject matter and arm’s-length emotional distance you’re trying to keep in the tone. I like the Romeo comparison. Since he also suffered, it would have completed the moment for you to reaffirm your own regret, your own little “death.” Or just talk about the death of the friendship, if that is what happened. And Midas– nice. That is an exceptional comparison, yet your phrasing makes it seem as if Midas turned items to stone… it was gold, was it not? Regardless, a beautiful essay.

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