Some decisions always have the potential to be of great consequence.
Like where to go to school.
Whether to take that job.
Whether to kiss him.
Whether to wear a condom.
Whether to tell the truth.
Whether to break up with her.
The funny thing about these decisions, is as much as we may dwell over the countless future possibilities implied in each choice, the one we make almost always transition into fact so easily. It becomes hard to even imagine having stayed in that city or having said no.
Then there's those other decisions.
The ones you don't even know are decisions until after the consequences become apparent.
The ones you don't even consider unless something out of the ordinary results from them.
The ones that never seemed worth contemplating until regret came into play.
A month before my high school graduation, my friend Mal died in a car accident.
I remember feeling guilt over a decision I'd only even hypothetically made-- the morning I found out, her and I were set to meet during our spare period to discuss a project. I had considered asking her to reschedule so I could go tend to my boyfriend, who was sick at home. Of course, I never got to ask, yet I felt remorse deep in my guts about my secret thought of asking.
My misplaced guilt had nothing on that of her best friend, though. Before the accident, the two of them had been hanging out, perhaps out for coffee-- the details are long lost. Mal dropped off her friend at her house, before continuing on less than ten minutes down the road, where she collided with another car. And her best friend suddenly felt as though she'd made the most horrible mistake by not inviting Mal in for tea, to use the washroom, anything to just postpone her leaving for a single minute, that minute that could have changed everything. The funny thing is that if the accident had never happened, she would have never again considered why she didn't invite Mal in.
It seems that whenever there is something with unintended repercussions, one can't help but put all the decisions leading up to it, the ones you didn't even know you were making, under a microscope. I've wondered at times what if I hadn't picked up the phone, had another drink, walked in another direction, said something a little differently. I don't just do this with regrets. Today, as we lay on the couch, I surmised about all the haphazard choices that led up to that moment-- my last minute decision to go to a casually mentioned concert to get some space from obnoxious house guests, my choice to stand where I did in a sea of hundreds, to turn around at that exact moment.
It is mind-boggling that so much significance could come from a split-second choice.