We have all done things in our lives that we rethink or look back and think, “gee, I could’ve” or “hmmmm, maybe i should’ve…”
The fact is as we get older we think of things we could’ve or should’ve done differently or better. And usually we can forgive ourselves, change and move on. But sometimes, there are those things that just fly up out of nowhere into our memories. We dwell on them. We again rethink them …..for the hundredth or thousandth time. They just seem to haunt us….over and over.
So this time, I’m gonna just put it out there. And hopefully this will quell this memory to stay where it belongs, a regret that I cannot change and that I truly wish I could make right….even after 33 years.
Back in high school, I met another student who I considered a friend. I had taken choir (oh why did I do that!….like I could sing!) But I loved the class–it was one of the few that had members from every class, freshmen to seniors. It had the smart kids, the singers, athletes, and those just needing a class without homework.
This student, Theresa, was in this class, and like me, an alto. She had a strong sense of tone and I always seemed to be flat unless she was in my left ear. So we made a deal that she’d always sit on my left side. She also convinced me to join the smaller choir group that was limited to only about 15 students. It was not a class, was not extra credit, just an extracurricular group that went to nursing homes during special seasons and competitions as a group.
Theresa was a year ahead of me and was also in the ‘theatre’ group. She was a performer, I was usually on the tech crew or box office. And I admired her. I came from what was (and is) considered a big family of 4 girls. She came from a family of, I think, 7 kids.
One cold November day, I saw Theresa coming out of one of the buildings as I was going in. She had on a greenish coat with a fur collar. It was a beautiful coat…and I truly liked it. And I told her so.
She mistook my genuine comment as a cutting remark as she responded with, “It’s my mother’s coat! And I can’t believe you of all people would say something like that!” And something about money being tight. I didn’t know their family had problems until that moment…and it didn’t matter. I really liked that coat. It was green…something different! And I like things that are a little different.
I tried to go after her, but she turned and told me not to follow her. For the rest of the year, she avoided me. She graduated and moved on with her life. And to this day I still try to find her online–on the high school site, on Facebook (isn’t everyone there????), on MySpace, and just Google-ing her. Because to this day is pains me that this was not settled all those years ago.
It was not a put down….it was an honest comment. And she looked good in that coat. And yes, I know, it was just a coat. And I have come up with hundreds of reasons of why ideas for her misunderstanding. But none of that matters. What matters is, I lost a friend. Someone I valued and enjoyed being around.
I didn’t have a lot of friends in high school. I was pretty much a loner, not always by choice. I was in the Drama Club, I was in Girls Athletic Association, I was the manager of the basketball team and the Volleyball team (lettering in both!). I was in the Christian Life Community–going to Chronic Hospital once a month to entertain and to be part of a Mass for the residents. I was part of organizations that fed into my interests, my beliefs, and who rounded out my persona. And yet, I had no 1 group of friends or even 1 close friend. But I had many that I enjoyed being with and participated in many activities with them.
So if anyone knows Theresa—or someone like her—let them know that they are still thought of.
And of course, there are other regrets. Such as, should i have tried to dated sooner? Should I have tried harder to be whatever the men were looking for back then? Should I have stayed in Florida when I left my job there or should I have gone home to Missouri like I did?
OH the ‘what-if’s of life! Was I right to move to where I am and buy a house? Or should I have looked harder for a house to rent?
And now I am 50…and I say, right or wrong, good or bad….my life is my life. I have a wonderful man in my life. I have a wonderful house that is becoming a home….just need to get out of rent mode and start hanging pictures! I have 3 dogs that love me and who make me laugh.
And Theresa…if you read this….please know that I would never have ever intentionally hurt you emotionally like that. I really did like that coat. My mother had one like it in boring beige.