In the last 16 years, my cellphone number hasn’t changed. I've hardly ever switched it off. I think about that sometimes. Having never been the proud owner of any kind of landline, my cellphone has been the only consistent way for anyone to reach me regardless of time of day or night. Maybe I’m sentimental, but I also do think that if anyone wants to reach out to me, they should be able to, no matter how long it’s been.
Like Mocha did the other day. After many years of silence, except for a memorable 45-second phone-call he made from some freezing part of the country just because a song played on the radio that reminded him about me, and the diamonds and rust that we were. And then suddenly, a few years later, he called to say he was in my neighbourhood and would I like to catch up? And just like that, I dragged my ass out of bed and went to meet my first love.
I was nervous, wondered if the years had changed us, if conversation had dried up, if disappointment that rode the fumes of nostalgia were all that we would have. And just like all those years ago, we surprised me. He looked great, and the minute he opened the door with that crooked smile on his face, I was back to 13 years ago, the in-between years becoming irrelevant. What was meant to be a quick drink lasted for 6 hours of laughter and conversation and so much yearning. Long looks and the not-so-innocuous hand holding were the order of the night, even as we caught up with the banalities. First loves are like that - they remind you of who you were and make you fall back in love with yourself.
And then you wonder why you don’t have this in your life right now. It makes you question all your choices and wonder if all those deal breakers really were that important after all. It makes you wish. It makes you want. And then when you hug each other goodbye, and there is that moment when you think, “If I just lean forward... just a little… one kiss and I could have this again, if only for a moment.” And almost immediately you think, I deserve more than a moment. I deserve a lifetime of this feeling. And then you remember why it ended.
Regret is a powerful thing. No matter how much peace you’ve made with it, it’ll spring back at you when you least expect it. It could be a movie, a song or a line of poetry and suddenly it takes you back to La La Land and makes you wonder “what if…” And the only way out of that whirlwind, is through.
As this year thankfully comes to a close, I’m thinking of the many things I regret. This year has been one fairly long traumatic soap opera of sorts, but one thing I don’t regret is my sentimentality. I have loved many people in my life and been fortunate to have been loved by quite a few. I am lucky to have a family and some friends that profess to adore me and, while it isn’t remotely close to perfect, I’m lucky I don’t live in a place as war-torn yet as so many other parts of the world. There are many things to be grateful for - and one of them is knowing that deep down I’m a sentimental romantic fool who probably loves me more than most people I’ve met.
Things could be worse.