Regret

Driving to pick up my prescription lenses,
I listen to a radio show where the host
is interviewing people about the one
big regret of their lives so far. A woman
tells the story of the girl next door 
who was her best friend all the way
through to college: sandwiches 
and study hall, secrets, sleepovers.
She's not exactly sure how or why 
they drifted apart. Another woman 
told a similar story about her college
roommate and how close they became,
until one of them had a bad opinion
about a boyfriend. Both eventually 
tried  to reconnect, after years  
of virtual silence. But in the first case, 
it was too late; when this woman
finally rang her friend, it was to learn
she'd just passed away from cancer. 
The second one worked up the courage
to look up a phone number, and the long-
lost friend returned the call. It was
as though the empty decade before  
had never happened. Both women 
spoke of regret as the wish they'd done
something sooner rather than later:
not been afraid of what others 
might think of their awkwardness
and shortcomings, not been concerned
that their timing was off or if they might 
barge in where in the end they wouldn't
be wanted. Both looked back 
or over their shoulder to see 
regret's younger sibling, hindsight—
now all grown up and looking left
and right before crossing the road.

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