NO REGRETS PAYTON GOSSE | Fiction I regret waking up after the school bus left, having no option but to take the homemade, crust-cut-off, made-with-love slob of a sandwich that Ma prepared for me. I regret throwing away the lunch she had packed for me and getting the school’s mystery meatloaf instead. I regret sitting with the cool kids when they started the food fight and everyone at the table was given a detention. I regret keeping my mouth shut in detention when I could have been flirting with the girl beside me. I regret silently giving her my number instead. I regret not being at home to pick up the phone when my hands were tied. I regret my attempt to show the older playground kids a magic trick by having them tie my hands behind my back. I regret the nights that I put forth the effort to learn how to tie knots. I regret tying my shoelaces in a double-knot, unable to get my feet back into their shoes once I had taken them out. I regret throwing away my glow-in- the-dark, light-up-when-stomping Velcro-strap shoes. I regret spilling your expensive cologne on my shoes. I regret crawling onto the sink in the master bathroom, in search of something you left behind. I regret being one of those somethings you left behind. I regret not following you outside when you left. I regret not being in the car. You always washed it after it rained. You took that dirt road detour, stopped the car at the perfect sunset, and I had to wash the dog because it leaped out, taking off on its own dirt road detour. I remember the fond memories of you giving me an extra cookie when Ma wasn’t looking, of the nights that I couldn’t sleep and you letting me stay with you, of you sleeping on the edge of your bed when I slept with my knees in your back, and of the mornings when you went to work and I told you to have a good day. I regret the mornings I didn’t say goodbye. I regret not saying goodbye before you chose not to turn the wheel, crashing into the one other car that chose to take a dirt road detour. I regret crying beside the ambulance, looking at your face that had been chewed up by the shattered windshield. I regret not taking the chance to get to know you. I regret not telling these things to you when you were here, because you would have listened. You would have told me not to do as you had done, and I would have listened. You let go of me when you shouldn’t have. I have yet to let go of you. I may have regrets, but you had a lot to lose.