Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Oops (01/14/10)
TITLE: The Pain of Regret
By Timmy Boyle
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Everyone makes mistakes, but not every mistake is equal.
Some errors can simply be laughed off while others may leave eternal scars. One solely affects the individual, yet another may topple an entire nation. There are mistakes caused by ignorance and mistakes brought about by sheer stupidity.
Life is filled with twists and turns and, as a result, it is sometimes near impossible to determine the outcome of one’s decisions. However, there are actions that, most certainly, carry a higher risk factor than others.
In those cases, if the odds go in your favour, the thrill may end up being worth it. But, if those same odds play out as they should, the pay off could be devastating.
So, why do people risk making mistakes? Why do people go where they shouldn’t go? Why do people do what they shouldn’t do? Why do people feel the need to occasionally drop the safety net, toss aside common sense and tempt fate?
I’ve been asking myself those questions a lot over the last three days. Except, I’ve made it very personal. “Why did I do it?”
Three days ago, I was doing just fine. Life was good. I wouldn’t call it “exciting”, but it was…good. I have a supportive wife and three fantastic children; I don’t make a whole lot but I have a job that I love; and after years of showing diligence in my decision-making I am now respected as a man who rejects impulse and errs on the side of caution. In the eyes of others, I represent patience, maturity and wisdom.
But sadly, that will be true no longer. It’s going to be very difficult to restore that image after I’m found behind these bars. A fence of shame is what it is.
You see, three days ago, my wife and kids left for a week long visit to Grandma’s. I stayed home, because I needed to “get some work done”. I should have gone. Even my mother-in-law’s is better than this.
Watching them drive away produced such a weird feeling. I couldn't remember the last time that I was alone. There had always seemed to be someone around to keep me honest. But with that close accountability stripped away, it was just me and that…urge.
An urge that, once acted upon, has now left me trapped. I’m hungry, tired, lonely, and filled with regret. But, it’s the waiting that’s killing me the most. I don’t want to be found confined here. It’s humiliating.
Now, I’ve had the urge for sometime. In fact, it has haunted me. For years I’ve had this suppressed desire to do something new, something crazy, something…un-safe. And, it wasn’t some random new, crazy, un-safe thing. No. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. For years I’d wanted to try it…just once. But, I was always deathly afraid of the consequences.
Apparently, it was for good reason. The odds were stacked against me. The “math” didn’t add up, yet I figured getting caught simply wasn’t going to happen. After all…it never happens to you.
I tried to get my work done…I really did, but within a few hours I found myself obsessing over this deep…ridiculous desire. I kept telling myself, “You’re a husband! Is this what a man of responsibility would do? You’re a father! Is this the example you want to leave for your kids? You’re a respected man of the community! Don’t do it. It’s not worth it!”
I usually listen. This time…I chose not to.
So here I sit. A reputation about to be shattered, caged like a bird. And, for what? For a brief thrill...that turned out to be anything but.
I’ve had a lot of time to think...and some more to come. I’m a changed man. I really don’t know what the people in my life are going to say, when they find out, but I do hope they’ll be filled with mercy.
What I do know is that, once freed, never again will I be so foolish as to try and stick my head where it doesn’t belong…
...in the staircase banister.
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