My One Regret

It wasn’t falling through the air that I regretted. I knew I had no choice.

It wasn’t standing on the edge – that had given me clarity. My heart was thumping, to be expected really. I could hear it above the chaos, the screams, the sirens of this city, new to me.

Being outside was colder than I’d expected; a real contrast to the building behind me. Not much wind, autumn hadn’t had a chance to set in. That’s how I felt; more life ahead of me than behind, or at least there should have been.

I was glad I was wearing trousers. It’s funny thinking about dignity at a time like that, but if I’d been wearing a skirt and had spun, done a cartwheel, then my knickers would have shown. Like a 5-year old’s, except they don’t care, it’s only their mothers that care about a thing like that.

I knew I’d be one of many. I wasn’t the only one to take that way out. The rest stayed. Burned. I couldn’t do that.

I wish I’d been able to say “Goodbye”, kicked myself for forgetting my mobile, leaving it on charge when I should have switched it off, put it in my handbag as I always did. Kicked myself for not knowing your number off by heart so when a colleague had said “Goodbye” to his loved ones then offered me the chance to do the same to mine… to you, I could have taken it, thanked him with all my heart, for one last opportunity; to say sorry… for arguing, for not making up before I went to the meeting. The one time I’d left like that. I could hear others leaving frantic messages on answerphones, their regret that they couldn’t speak person-to-person, that there’d never be another face-to-face.

And as I fell through the air, dropped those hundred-plus storeys of that stark, glass building, I was at peace… with myself, but not with you. That is my one regret.


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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.