Updated: Jun 17
You should know you’ll never get to read this. If this piece of paper has any luck, then perhaps it’ll get to stay under my mattress instead of burning to ashes like the rest of my letters. Or maybe if you’re lucky, some of the unburnt parts of it will fly over to you. Well, to be honest, I don’t know if any of us will be lucky or unlucky then. I keep thinking about how things ended and believe me, I’ve had a hundred regrets since then. You and I always used to talk about going back in time and changing our mistakes. I always used to say that there’s no such thing as regrets. There are only things that we learn from; they change us for the better. But if I could turn back time now, I’d do it not once, not twice, but thrice.
The first time I’d go back to the night of March 8th. Your graduation was just around the corner, and we had never gone to any place so fancy as that sparkly restaurant. We kept laughing at how we both had no idea if we had enough money to afford it, but you were in your tidiest tuxedo and I was wearing my prettiest dress. It’s ironic how soon our laughs turned into that painful, awkward tension. I can’t even recall who ended up paying the bill. I just remember that glaring diamond ring sitting on the table and none of us knowing what to do with it. The sudden echoing silence on the walls, you stuttering on an ‘I don’t understand,’ and me failing to come up with a better reason than an ‘I can’t’. I’d seen the ring before on your Mom’s finger. I had just never once imagined it on mine. But now all I do is that; how it would look, whether it would fit, the dress I would’ve worn with it. Turning you down that day is my first regret, and if I could turn back time, I’d go back to that night and do anything to stop myself from breaking us apart forever.
The second time, I’d go back to the night of December 24th. It was the annual bonfire, and your friend had his guitar out. I’d never experienced time fly that quick as it did that night, walking with you on that snowy road. It was the first time you told me about your little sister, your Mom, and your family. We talked about the future, the jobs we wanted to get, and the family we wanted to create. We talked about our friends, our fears, and our insecurities. I told you how scared I was of things that I couldn’t control. I distinctly remember the reassurance that washed through me when you said, "we’ll go through it together". I wonder if you remember we stayed out the latest by the fire. You told me you liked the snowflakes in my hair, only to receive a snowball aimed at yours. I wish a thousand times each day that I had told you then that I didn’t have a marriage that early in my plans – that I wouldn’t be ready when you would ask me in two months, and that I wish you’d be a little more patient with me.
The third time I’d go back to early July, the night of our stupid mutual friend’s birthday party to be exact. It was all chaos; they had candles hanging in bottles and we all struggled the whole time to keep them away from the Helium balloons. The one in your hand still ended up catching fire and you trying to throw the balloon away from the party was a sight that made my soda come out of my nose. I had never laughed so hard in my life. My stomach still remembers the ache that came afterward. I just knew I had caught your attention the same way you had caught mine. The whole night was just a flirtatious dance between us, a giggle here, a compliment there. There was just something between us that just kept on captivating me. You asked me my name, but to your amusement, I only told you that I already knew yours. We were young and a mess and it’s been years since then. But if I could turn back time just once in my life, what I wouldn’t give in the world to freeze everything in that exact moment; the moment I fell in love, but turn around and leave before I could ever give you my name.
Zainab Waseem is an in-house writer at Perspective.
Find her on Instagram @lightash241