Regrets Collect

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Madness and Love

Submitted: June 23, 2014

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 23, 2014



16 March 2014


His head rested on my chest as I stroked his hair. We talked about our parallel lives that only collide in moments like this—sitting on our beds confessing all of our secrets like we’re under interrogation, truths pouring from our mouths.

I told him I had reread my journal from the last summer. I said I realized I had really, truly, lost my mind; that when I had spoken to him on the phone, I was delusional. He asked if I remembered it. I said not really. I wonder why he asked that. He told me he was on meds now. He wasn’t sure that they worked yet.

Maybe we weren’t meant to be together after all—maybe we were only supposed to be together like this—maybe we’re supposed to keep each other like all of our secrets, in a cavernous part of our hearts, a place no one else is brave enough to go.


I was in love with him once . . .


I forget what that woman looked like--
Brown eyes

But I have not forgotten the look she gave me— a look like magic.

A cigarette dangled precariously from the corner of his mouth— I snatched it away to smoke it myself as I watched the city turn around trying to find from where his voice came. No one thought to look up . . . Except for her.

As she pulled her bike onto the sidewalk beneath us, her gaze met mine through the bars of the fire escape— and like she was fully aware of all the love we were in, she smiled at me, as he, unaware, strummed his guitar furiously.


I’ve never forgotten that feeling— the feeling magic gives you.



10 August 2013 (journal entry)


I guess I feel like I’m

Crazy and no one will

Believe me which

Makes me feel crazier


And if I can organize

Everything maybe

It will be okay—

If I can make everything perfect

It will somehow redeem me

And will make it okay


But the redemption is

Temporary at best.


And I want to create

Something perfect


Many things.


I like the feeling

Of Completeness.


Every summer

I feel like

I lose and find


Over and over


Every summer feels

So long and

So short.


I feel closer to

Sanity and insanity

All at the same time


Like when I was trapped

In time


I’m not sure I ever escaped

Maybe my soul is

Comprised of parallel


Co-existing, codependent



I fear chaos, hate it

But create it

Depend on it




Discord & quiet; peace







13 August 2013


I sat in the Will Rogers International Airport, half-drunk, watching the sunrise and listening to “Shake It Out” on repeat. Underneath my jeans my right thigh was slashed up from an obsidian knife I had napped myself. I asked myself how I ended up here, but I remained clueless.

In one fell swoop, the world had fallen upon me. Nothing had ever felt more real, more surreal. Is this what rock bottom feels like? The world continued to hit me, one fell swoop after another and another until it seemed like protocol.


The night before I had become embarrassingly drunk. Staring at the knife in my hand I decided to see what it would feel like. I began cutting at my leg, digging it in, making patterns, pressing it harder until the serrated teeth ate away at my sanity, which was feeble in the first place. I sent a picture to my friend with some snarky comment. Before I knew it I was on a three-way call with my sister and an airline agent changing my flight to leave in a few hours instead of in a few days.

My friend from home, the girl I grew up with, showed up sometime around two in the morning expecting to hang out. I don’t think anything could have prepared her or her boyfriend for what she walked into. A bloody leg, a blind-drunk friend, tears. I packed my things, not realizing why they were there really, and asked them to take me to my father’s because he would take me to the airport in the morning. Sadly, this was not the worst state she had seen me in. When I left her, left Oklahoma, for the first time, I was a measly 116 lbs, skeletal for someone 5’10”. My stomach was retracted at least an inch behind my hipbones when I was standing, and I was covered in purple and yellow bruises from head to toe.


When he answered the door, at 3 or 4 am by now, my father didn’t notice anything awry. He just let me in and left me alone; he went back to sleep. I had another beer or two and set to organizing my room for my departure. This was not an unfamiliar experience.




I still don’t know how I ended up there. I still don’t know how I ended up here.


When I arrived in Philly, I think my sister was nervous to ask about my leg. She eventually gave me some zinc cream to help it heal, help hide the scars. I wondered how I became one of those people who cut. I had done it in high school, but not much, and always careful, careful to hide the evidence. I did it just to get the pain, the frustration, out. I still don’t know why I did it that night. I applied the zinc cream several times a day.

A day or two after I arrived we headed for Nashville, where I was supposed to arrive via plane on the 18th. Instead, I arrived in a car with my sister. We didn’t talk much. She said she was glad I got Oklahoma out of my system after I told her I was never going back.

We spent days there, close to a week. Our family knew my time in Oklahoma had been rough, that’s why I flew out early. Luckily it was cool enough I could get away with wearing jeans in the normally sweltering hot Tennessee summer. However, at a certain point, I had to buy new pants, because it was getting to be strange how long I was wearing my jeans, day after day. They became my mask, my prison.


Another time, when it was bad, my sister told me, “This isn’t you.” But isn’t it? If this is not me, where am I? It’s easy to forget how bad things can get until you remember, experience it again, relive it.


While I was there, we went to a Norman Rockwell exhibit. I stood in the museum with my sister and aunt staring at all the pictures of nice, normal people. Have they ever lost their mind?

People have this idea that once you lose your mind, you regain it. You have one moment, you have one epiphany, where you realize it’s not sustainable. Then you get your shit together.

That’s not what it’s like. You don’t have a moment, you don’t have a night. You lose your shit and start to put it back together, and then you lose it again. Over and over and over. Sometimes you lose it less, put it back together more. But other times you lose parts of it when you think you have nothing else to lose. When you’ve lost everything. You always have something left to lose, and you will always lose it. Sooner or later.


I began to feel better, but I wasn’t. I was a long way from better.



© Copyright 2019 Caroline Kellogg. All rights reserved.

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