There are so many infuriating catch phrases for regret. How people would rather regret the things they did than the things they didn't do, or how the only way to live is to live with no regrets, or that you should never regret anything because it was the right thing to do at the time. But there are no bumper stickers or t-shirts or clever sayings for real regret. For the regret that burrows and nestles down into your bones and lives with you forever. The type of regret that becomes part of you, like shrapnel you still carry from a long ago war. Lying dormant most of the time, but occasionally becoming sore, tender once again and reminding you of all the things you can't leave behind.
Regret for the things you did that weren't the right thing to do at the time. Things you did out of fear, or anger, or carelessness. Things you've done that even you can't understand.
The actions and mistakes in your past that become even less clear to you as time goes by. Their reasons and motives making less and less sense, forcing your regret to grow exponentially, until it becomes a living breathing thing that walks around with you. Shares your bed. Never stops talking.
There is no way to describe the malice and frigidity of regret, and it's nagging sister What If. The way their ugly, twisted mouths and harsh words can ruin a perfectly suitable day. Or how one whisper from them can break your heart all over again, until you wonder how many different ways a person can die for the same sins.
You start to wonder who is worse off, the criminal or the victim.
You start to wish there were such a thing as sympathy for the devil, redemption for evil men.
You begin to live for the brief moments of levity, when you are not haunted, not constantly paying for what you've already done and cannot undo....however short and seldom those moments may be.
And you begin to think to yourself, late at night when everyone except you and your regret are sleeping, that even though you'd never say it, you know, and you wish they did too, that you would give the last breath in your lungs to hear them say
they forgive you.