Sunday, November 29, 2009


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.


P said...

I try not to think too much about these kind of things - I have to just think that everything happens for a reason, no matter what decision, however irrelevant it seems at the time, we make. Otherwise it stresses me out and I would never do ANYTHING...

sanya said...

It is so scary to think of how everything could be different if we acted in just slightly different manners. But then, we only ever consider having done things differently after the consequence. I am the the type of person that makes pro/con lists in her head before every decision, trying to make sure I don't suffer from this post-decision regret. Sometimes, though, thinking about it so much beforehand and about all the things that could go wrong is incredibly stressful, and sometimes, I wish I could just... jump.

P.T said...

Whatever P said pretty summed it up for me too..concur 100%

verybadcat said...

it kind of rocks my world. not sure how such random things have such poetry to them, or if we assign the poetry later on. great post. :)

Surfergrrl said...

To try and figure this out is impossible and overwhelming. I do remember having one moment a few years ago, sitting on the beach and night and thinking, "how the hell did I get here?" It's crazy to think about. Chills.

Mandy said...

So, so well said and as always so perfectly, eloquently written.

Respectfully Yours said...

Nicely written. Just popped by and enjoyed your writing. Looking forward to following and reading more.

Bayjb said...

So well written and something we've all thought about. I don't usually worry "what ifs" as that may make me crazy but sometimes it's okay to entertain the thought, everything happens for a reason

Therapeutic Ramblings said...

Very well done PP.

Louise | said...

It is a scary thought... If I were Mal's friend, I probably will blame myself for what happened. But then again, it's nobody's fault. Things like this just happen. We don't know why and who's responsible. It's just the way life is...