no regrets

I always say I have no regrets, and sometimes maybe I even believe it myself. Late at night, as we're talking about the lives we've led and she's pouring out the last of the wine and my throat is dry, she asks if I have any regrets. It's been a rough road. I've made mistakes. Do I regret it?

No, I say. I smile, though she's still watching the wine. Now the bottle's empty and she sets my glass on the coffee table in front of me and takes a sip of hers. But tonight I don't believe it. Tonight I remember everything--when I look back over my past, my childhood, it's all of the mistakes. All the times I did something I regretted right away, all the times I ran away or hid, all the things that never resolved, that I just hid from until it passed, lied about when questioned, and then pretended it was all okay. And maybe even then I believed it. But it's not the happy moments I remember. It's every mistake I've ever made, played out over and over again in my mind, in my writing.

I dream about it sometimes. They play out in front of me and I can never do otherwise. I'll have the same dream a dozen times in a night. It's always the same.

We talk more. The candle starts to flicker, and there's a moment where I know she expects me to kiss her. I instead lean forward to blow the candle out. I say it's getting late. I should probably head home. She asks, are you sure? She offers to let me stay at her place, and I know she doesn't mean the couch.

I'm sure, I say. Good night, I say. I tell her I had a good time. I tell her I'll remember tonight. I'm sure she assumed I meant it as a compliment.

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