Regret is a funny thing. Everyone always says you'll regret the things you never do. Missed opportunities and all that.
Regret is a weird feeling, one that starts in my stomach, an uneasy roil, and works its way up into my brain. Sometimes it makes me cry. I have this habit of looking at myself in the mirror when it happens. My friend told me it's because I'm pretty when I cry, with wet, sad eyes and glistening cheeks - "It works for you," she said. There's some messed up psychology behind it all. It's comforting to know that I'm not crying alone.
I was fifteen when I had my first kiss. We were outside the girls bathroom after school and he smelled like sweat and Axe body spray. My friends were telling me to just let it happen, that I would naturally know what to do, so I shouldn’t worry about it. But then he tried to poke his tongue through my tightly pursed lips and I was so embarrassed that I walked away without even saying anything to him. I kissed another boy a few weeks later.
My friends tell me kissing isn’t significant. Kissing isn’t sacred. Kissing isn’t special. I try to convince myself. Twenty boys later and I'm starting to believe them. Kissing isn’t serious.
I knock on his door, feeling uncomfortable in my heels and skinny jeans. The boy's hallway always smells like stale chips and dirty laundry. There's a guy walking in my direction wearing just a towel and I'm trying really hard to not make eye contact with him. I'm saved when Ryan opens his door, inviting me inside.
It's dark. The curtains are closed. He's standing too close to me and I shut my eyes and turn off my senses and then he's touching me. Holding my hand. "I shouldn't have let you leave the party without me," he whispers. I can smell whiskey on his breath. I open my eyes.
When it's over and I'm laying there in his bed, his sweaty arm sticking to my chest, I'm having trouble closing my eyes. Staring at the ceiling, I'm holding my heart in my hands. I'm squeezing and squeezing, tighter and tighter until I can't breathe. All that's left is dust.
His head is tucked into my shoulder and his even breathing is a sign that he fell asleep. His dark hair is tickling my cheek and his voice is echoing in my head, "Would you be upset if I kissed you right now?" I saw that slight smile, that noiseless laugh, that rush of air.
Regret is a funny thing. Ryan's steady breathing is playing on a loop, the only sound filling my ears. A tear drips from my eyelash and suddenly, having company isn't so comforting.