A BlackBerry message came in this late afternoon from my neighbor Sherly. I’m hungry. Wanna join me to go to “Ahong” (name of a restaurant)? Hey, don’t know why but I’ve been thinking of my ex. I wasn’t that hungry, but I did go with her. I wasn’t interested in listening to any recounts, let alone about regrets & co., but I listened.
Sherly has not seen anyone for five years now. The last guy she went with was a guy called M. She dumped him because he could not afford having a four-wheel of his own… Well, to put it simply. His presence in her circle would only embarrass her. M – that guy – was furious when he found out that Sherly chose to go with another man who had all he didn’t. He screamed at her and said, “Remember this. One day you will regret it!”
And there at “Ahong”, tears pooled in the corners of her eyes, she told me that M just got married. His curse works! She said. I’m left alone and miserable.
My effort to console her only brought me to my own pain. Everybody has regrets in their lives. I remember bullshitting a few years back, telling myself and others that everything happens for a reason and that I don’t regret anything. Every thing that happens in this world happens for a reason, yes. The second statement, sadly, was a lie.
Over 10 years ago, a 3 years old girl had to let go of her mother at the airport. The mother went to the United States for study. The little girl is my daughter. I have left her so many times. She has let me go so many more times. I know that she’s grown to be a beautiful teenager now, but her helpless small face at the airport is stuck on my mind.
And there, still at “Ahong”, I was the one weeping helplessly. Sherly was there looking at me. Empty plates. a tissue box, and a long pause between us.
Then, I remember a recent headline about a nurse in UK who killed herself because she regretted having released confidential information on Duchess of Cambridge to two caller-pranksters. The whole world is condemning these two terrible radio hosts whose joke had gone fatal. I have the feeling that the curse of guilt did not stop there. Remember Kevin Carter? The Pulitzer-recipient photo journalist was also killed by guilt. Regrets and guilt are beasts from the ancient time.
Sherly and I moved from our table and paid our bills.