NO REGRETS

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Started writing this a few hours ago. I'll be honest and say I'm slightly drunk, so if there are any grammatical errors I apologize. I haven't finished the story yet, and I want to tie in the term "No Regrets" with my planned ending. Read it if you like, if not it's fine. I probably wouldn't want to read 2700 words either written by someone drunk on a Wednesday night.

Submitted: August 06, 2014

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Submitted: August 06, 2014

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This day felt different. The sun was shining with an intense vibration that impaired my vision to see the foggy skyline that embraced the city like a blanket of tranquility. I get dressed, pants first, then shirt and so forth. You may be wondering, “what about your underwear, your socks?” I’ve never felt the need for neither, too constricting. Feeling loose and free is the only way for me.

I jump in my car, turn on some classical jazz and depart my homestead, eager for the night that lies ahead. Now, I’m not a regular smoker, but I stopped in at a local cigar shop and bought a single Colt cigar. The hell with it, today is a day where I live NO REGRETS. This is the exact thing that went through my head on the drive to the gym. NO REGRETS. Classically, smoking before exercising seems counterproductive. But nothing can slow me down on this day, and how much can a little cancerous smoke hurt anyways, right?

I’ve always hated the perception that guys who “work out” are dumb “meatheads”. For me, the process of challenging oneself is like a meditation. It’s soothing, and although on this day my heart felt like it was going to explode out of sheer happiness and physical exhaustion, I didn’t care. The sweat rejuvenated me in such a way a mothers touch relaxes a new born child in distress.

 

I get a phone call afterwards from my friend who asked me if I was interested in having drinks and going to a bar later that evening. Now, I’m not a regular drinker by any stretch of the imagination, but screw it, today I’m living with NO REGRETS. I tell him I’d be over after later that evening. I don’t like going to social gatherings and being the first one there, fashionably late is how I like to make an entrance. It creates social value, and an illusion that you were out doing other interesting things beforehand.

I get in my car, and head to a small Italian Deli for a bite to eat. Now, I’m not an unhealthy eater, and for the most part I eat nourishing foods. However, I order the fattiest, most deliciously grotesque 12 inch sub I can possibly buy. I was living with NO REGRETS. I have a conversation with the owner, Dario, who is originally from New Jersey and spoke with a typical Italian American accent. We discuss happenings in the world and all its madness. He fries my steak, as I look around at the artwork he adorned the shop with. Pictures of the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Manhattan skyline as seen from New Jersey hang unintentionally crooked on the wall. I suddenly question why the hell he’d move to a small city in Eastern Canada when he grew up looking at that every day. I ask, and he tells me “my wife brought me here, I followed love but miss home every day. But I have NO REGRETS about the choice I made. I’ve never been happier.” I sit down, and ponder why he’d follow someone he loved. Perhaps I question this because I have no idea what love is. He finishes putting the last bit of parmesan oregano cheese, on my Philly steak sandwich, and I quickly indulge. The taste was indescribable. Even as I write this during minor writers block, I still can’t figure out what it tasted like. There was steak, green onions and cheese obviously. But there was a “magic” to it. I had never tasted something so fulfilling in my life. Maybe it was the fact I realized the absurdity of a cow being slaughtered for my pleasure. Or maybe it was the stereotypical, old school Italian who served it to me, all his knowledge and life experience somehow conveyed into my sandwich. Either way, there was something more to it than a typical sandwich. I leave, and he tells me as I’m walking out the door, “Ay Kid, have fun tonight”. I thank him, and depart.

For some reason on this day, there was more traffic than usual for a Saturday. Being stuck in gridlock traffic when you want to get to a destination is one of the worst experiences one can endure. I’m serious, we’ve been moulded in this culture to have everything on demand. Our movies are on demand, our phones keep us in touch with our social circle on demand, and even our sandwiches are served on demand. Suddenly in gridlock traffic, hundreds of people are stuck in tiny metal boxes (or whatever they make cars with these days, is it aluminum?). I realize right then and there everyone’s an asshole, that everyone else sees me as an asshole as well. There was very limited space between the car in front of me and the car behind me. Now, I’m not typically one to cut somebody off in traffic, but screw it. Today I have NO REGRETS. I cut a hard right to get on the lane to Robie Street, and nearly hit the person behind me. She flips me off, and yells numerous profanities at me with a child in the car. I smile and wave, and think she’s living with NO REGRETS.  I mean, who does that with a child in the car? I guess I can’t blame her though. To her I was an asshole. I accepted it. But I had no choice, I had to be in that lane in order to get to my friends place, for if I had stayed in the lane I was in I’d be forced to take a bridge across the harbor in to the depressing part of town. I’d be forced to pay a dollar for toll, also. I’ve always wondered why bridge tolls exist in the first place, I mean we pay high taxes anyways to maintain the bridge, so why do they want more money? It’s a scheme I tell you, and I hate schemers. But the hell with it, I was on the right road.

The first stop on the way was the liquor store. I walk in and notice a drunkard flailing from side to side in the Vodka isle. I wonder what kind of life this man must lead. I wonder what kind of things he’s seen in his years being an alcoholic. Maybe he wasn’t an alcoholic, and just happened to be drunk on that particular day. “I’m definitely being judgemental of this poor bastard, and he probably doesn’t need my pity”, I think to myself as I reach for a bottle of scotch. People probably think I have a drinking problem too, as I stand there in the lineup sweating profusely because of the heat and the fact my body was trying to exalt the remnants of the sandwich I had just eaten. They probably assume I’m suffering alcohol withdrawal and pity me much in the same way I pitied the man stumbling from side to side. I go to the counter and pay for my scotch. The old lady asks for my I.D., which I give to her. “I can’t believe you’re 24, you look like you’re 30”. I wasn’t sure whether or not to take this as a compliment or an insult. Being 24 is a confusing age. It’s an age where you’re transferring out of young adulthood and in to full on adulthood. Did I look old? Because I dread being 30 one day. Even the thought she assumed I might have been 30 bothered me. This is where I was moderately insulted. On the other hand I’ve always considered myself an “old soul”. 35 felt like the mental age I was at. Maybe it was the scotch I was buying that made her say that. I’ve always considered it an old man beverage. I’ve considered this an old man beverage because my grandfather would drink it on his front deck just thinking about life and his recently deceased wife. Although I felt bad for him, it appeared he had NO REGRETS. She packages my bottle of sweet poison in a bag like the winos drink out of, and I walk out.

I arrive at my friends place, and introduce myself to everybody there. The 3 people here were folks I’ve never seen before, and I was keen on getting to know them better. Attending was a white girl, no taller than 5’2”, with silky blonde hair with red highlights. She was a looker, but seemed to have an ego problem in that she started the conversation off by telling me about the amount of money she makes at a law firm. She had a good heart, but was too caught up in her job for me to find her interesting. How exciting a life can pushing staples be working at a law firm? But maybe I was being too judgemental. The other two people there were brothers from Uganda. They were more interesting to talk to, as they would tell me stories about what life was like in Africa. “I not lying to you, the hardest I’ve ever laughed was when a chicken pecked at itself in the mirror of a rich man’s Mercedes”, he told me. I laughed at the fact a chicken is dumb enough to look at itself in its own reflection and try to fight itself. I mean, c’mon, we all do it when we look at ourselves in the mirror. We judge who we are as people and go to war with our subconscious. In reality, we do the same thing chickens do. The drinks keep flowing, and everyone has rosy red cheeks. All of a sudden life made sense.

As my friend plays some God awful modern day rap music (which I consider commercial trash with no substance), I try to understand why he’d listen to this. It suddenly donned on me that the feeling he was getting from this music was the same feeling I got listening to Jazz music. I call a cab. This day had thus far had a certain aura to it. I can’t explain. I was eager to get to the bar because I knew there was bound to be some interesting people there. I’ve always liked listening to people bullshit while they are drunk, because to me it illustrates who they really strive to be as people. It’s an interesting concept.

As we get to the bar, I strike up a conversation with two girls who were overly drunk. One was sitting on the sidewalk with a cigarette in hand crying because her boyfriend had just broken up with her. Her friend was giving her the worst advice I had ever heard. She would say things like, “fuck him, you’re too good for him anyways. He’s a piece of shit”. I felt like saying, “so if he’s a piece of shit does that make your friend a piece of shit for dating him?” I understood she was showing concern and trying to make her feel better about things, but it visibly wasn’t working. My friend yells at me from the inside. “Would you hurry the fuck up” he says in a boisterous, drunken voice. Before I turned around to go in, I say to the girl crying, “Hey listen, life goes on. In 30 years you’ll have NO REGRETS about what happened. Everything happens for a reason, just keep pushing forward.” Now you’re probably thinking, “Man, you were just hitting on her.” I actually wasn’t, I just wanted to help. To this day I hope those words resonated with her.

I go in.

My friends and I grab a table. An interesting bunch we must have looked. The people who surround us all look identical. Almost like robots. The guys all had designer jeans and flashy dress shirts, while the girls adorned short shorts with sunflowers on them with tight fitting t-shirts tucked in around the waist. Maybe I was being judgemental at their shallowness. They probably took one look at me and thought I looked like a bum. Maybe they seen me as the same type of person as the drunkard I encountered earlier in the day.

I continue to order more scotches, thinking “what the heck, I’m here anyways”. I wasn’t having a pleasant time because of the environment. I perceived everything as being shallow, and these feelings most likely stemmed from the hordes of uninhibited animals I seemed to be around.

I look around, trying to make eye contact with somebody. Somebody interesting, somebody who seemed like they had a story to tell. Nothing. “My nights over”, I say in my head and leave to go outside for a cigarette. I light my cigarette, and observe the people around me. Everyone yelling at each other. Some yelling out of happiness, some yelling out of anger. So many different personalities all converged in to one. Everyone was an individual but yet they were all the same. I decide to go back in for the hell of it, even though deep down I wanted to leave. At this point I’m barely standing straight, and the bouncer looks at me as if he’s testing me to see if I’m capable of keeping it together. My mind felt clear, I knew exactly what I was doing and where I was, but my body didn’t agree. He must have been having a good night, so he let me back in. I decide to go to the dance floor, where people are spilling drinks and borderline having sex with each other. The dance floor had looked like it hadn’t been washed in 50 years. Suddenly, I feel a soft tap on my shoulder that immediately sends electricity through my body. It’s a beautiful girl, no more than 23 who wasn’t wearing short shorts with flowers on them but instead was wearing a classy, nice dress. As I begin to introduce myself, she stops me abruptly with her finger gently pressed against my lips. “Surely, you cannot believe you are of anymore importance than everyone gathered here tonight”, she says in an Ontario accent. I can always tell an Ontario accent because they speak more deliberately and clean with a slight sharpness to their tone. “I can tell you’re being judgemental, and you do realize your judgement is a sin and makes you no better than them right?” “So is it a sin if I judge you to be different than the people here whom I perceive to all be the same?”, I respond. She laughs, and says she agrees with everything I said. She introduces herself, “My names Rachel, and allow me to apologize for so rudely interrupting you while you were introducing yourself.” She wasn’t afraid to tell me I was being an asshole. I admired how she did this however in the nicest way possible.  I take her hand, and ask her to accompany me for a stroll to the bar stand. We wade through the crowds of generic dress shirts, and sunflower shorts as if we were a flashlight in a sea of darkness.

I order us two glasses of Domaine Serene red, and we begin to engage in conversation. She mentions how she is the daughter of a police officer, and about how she grew up in a very conservative household. We get on the topic of free will, and about how she was the only decider of her path in life. “So you don’t think the reason we’re talking now, in this room filled with vampires, is fate?”, I say. “Perhaps, but maybe free will and fate go hand in hand, much like the way we went hand in hand to where we are now. Maybe this is what happens when free will and fate collide”, she says. I smile, and am in absolute disbelief. Not only was she extremely attractive, but she just outsmarted me, made me question my judgemental attitude towards others and explained perfectly the dilemma I always suffered in questioning “fate vs free will”.


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