Friday, December 7, 2012

ONLY A FEW REGRETS by Peter Nolan Smith

"Regrets I have a few, but not too few to mention." Frank Sinatra sang in MY WAY. I myself only have regrets about the things I have not done for I can live with those I have done; the good, the bad, and the in-between, however other people are not so self-forgiving.

The other day I ran into female friend from the 80s at a restaurant in the Meat Packing District. Her face had graced the covers of French fashion magazines. Men fought over her beauty with fists and compete for her attention with money.

My attempts to seduce Valla ended in unrequited frustration and I resigned our relationship to friendship along with many of the other models populating Paris. We bid farewell in 1988.

Decades passed without our seeing each other until this chance encounter.

"I heard you were living in Paris."

"Yes, I have a family there."

"Children?" Valla explained about traveling between France and Africa for her clothing line.

"Four and you?"

"One, but she's all grown up and following her mother's footsteps."

"A model?"

"Cover girl." Valla was still beautiful in the way that beautiful women are when they refuse to be anything else but beautiful.

We had a few wines and then a drink. I was feeling a little more of the wine than the drink. Her hand touched my arm. "You want a night cap at my hotel?"

"I have to go to work tomorrow." It was almost midnight and the L train was shit after that witching hour.

"You could always sleep over." Her touch became a caress.

I had wanted this woman so badly twenty years ago. I would have set myself on fire to get her in bed. Now I could only say, "Not really."

"Not really." Her face adopted hard lines. No one had said no in a long time. "You know I was talking about you and several of my friends. We all asked why none of us slept with you."

"And what the answer?" I could see her at a table in Paris. All these great beauties reviewing their love affairs. I had been with none of them

"We always thought you were with one of us."

"Oh." It was too late to relive the past and I pulled away my arm. My Thai wife would be happy with my decision.

"Guess it is getting late."

"I guess so." I walked her over to the hotel. She was gracious enough to not repeat her request and I kissed her on the cheek, smelling the same perfume I had breathed 20 years before. There will always be regrets, but only for the past and not the present and I'll avoid those to prevent getting run down by those naked fantasies. They are too many to count on any man's fingers.

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