Regret is a concept we approach in different ways.
I’ve always told my children they should never do anything they think they’ll regret later and to always do things they’ll regret not doing.
My son took me up on that one summer at our local amusement park. He’s not really a roller coaster fan. But my daughter and I convinced him that if he didn’t ride Colossus at least once he’d regret it for the rest of his life. Colossus is a double inverted loop coaster at Lagoon in Farmington, Utah.
We all climbed into the car and chatted amiably on the way up the starting hill. At the top, the coaster takes a turn to the right so you can see both the surrounding landscape and a very clear view of the descent falling precipitously away and toward certain doom. It’s a sight that still makes my heart skip a few beats, even though I love the ride.
My son reached that point, took one look, and swore.
My son doesn’t swear.
I’m fairly certain that’s the only time I’ve heard a cuss word pass his lips.
At the end of the ride, he was shaky and nauseated. We helped him to the nearest park bench and waited for his stomach to quit flip-flopping.
Now, in 70 years or so, he can take his final gasps from his death bed without wishing he had ridden Colossus. At the time, though, I’m fairly certain he wished he hadn’t.
I think I like Henry David Thoreau’s viewpoint best:
“Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.”
This month’s original stories are each about regret in some aspect or another. Obsessing about it, giving into it, denying it by taking that leap of faith.
First, from Edward Ashton, “Vernal Fall.”
Next up, “Women’s Work,” by Amelia Aldred.
And “A Lumberjack’s Guide to Dryad Spotting,” by Charles Payseur.
In addition, we have “A Woman’s Glory,” a reprint by Ashley Kunsa that first appeared in issue #10 of the Los Angeles Review, and won the A Room of Her Own Orlando Prize for 2011.
© Suzanne W. Vincent