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All I Can Do Is Regret

By: Claire Guo

Headlights illuminated my path as I walked through the noisy streets of New York City. With my fresh perm, new nails, and nice clothes, I felt powerful, better than every single human being who dare walk on the same street as me. After all, I was the CEO of the biggest technology company in the world. As I walked, my heels made a clickety-clack sound on the hard concrete and my nails clicked on my phone as I texted my boyfriend.

Suddenly, a person rushes past me, hitting my shoulder and almost knocking me over. My new sunglasses tumbled to the ground, and I heard a loud crack. “Watch it!” I yell in fury, glaring at the stranger.

“I’m so sorry!” she said, eyes wide with worry.

I wrinkled my nose in disgust and my lips curl into a sneer as I took in her muddy boots and ragged shirt. “You should be,” I snarled. “Do you know how much those glasses cost?” I sniffed the air in disdain. “Around twelve hundred dollars.” I thrust my arm out. “Give me the money.”

“I’m really so sorry!” The woman rushed out, tears filling her eyes. “But… I don’t have enough money to pay you back for the sunglasses. I’m really really sorry.”

I rolled my eyes. “I just knew you wouldn’t… Whatever just give me the money you have in that wallet of yours.”

She pulled out her wallet and I snatched it from her, riffling through the papers and counting the money. “Only $100,” I muttered. “Well, I guess I will be keeping this wallet of yours.”

The woman burst out into tears. “Please… please don’t take that money. I’ll do anything!” She reached out to grab my arms, pleading.

I quickly pulled back, my eyes filled with false sympathy. “Aw… sorry. But you were the one who crashed into me. It’s your fault.” Without sparing her another glance, I turned around and sauntered away, leaving the woman sobbing on the floor. Satisfied, I went back home, an air of superiority wrapped around me.

I’m sitting on the grounds in a dark alleyway of New York City. I haven’t showered for days and my stomach grumbled in hunger. I looked at the strangers passing by me. “Please…” I begged, “Spare me a couple of dollars.” It has been hours, but I got nothing in return, only false looks of pity and sniffs of disgust as they took in my dirty clothing and unwashed hair.

They reminded me of someone, someone that I knew very well. But I wouldn’t admit it… No, I wouldn’t, I couldn’t… I refuse to. I let out a small sob. How could things change so fast? One minute I was one of the richest people in America and the next, I had nothing. I was kicked out onto the streets without a penny. I wonder what went wrong in my life. What did I do so badly in life that made me end up like this? I eyed the strangers that walked past me in jealousy.

They wore designer clothes and expensive jewelry— all things that I used to own. I started crying, regretting my life choices and every single decision I made. Because what else could I do? Nothing… absolutely nothing. This was me repenting for my sins and I deserved it.

All I could do was sit, stare at my shoes, and regret.

Then repeat.

Then repeat again.

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