"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. Cece had once graced the covers of fashion magazine. Men fought over her with fists and money. Cece was skilled at fending off her admirers. Few were chosen for love. I wasn't one of them and resigned our relationship to mere friendship.
It had been very frustrating.
She gave me a kiss on the cheek.
I remembered her perfume.
Chanel # 5.
We hadn't seen each other in years. I had been living in Thailand, while Cece traveled between France and Africa for business. She was still beautiful in the way that beautiful women are when they refuse to surrender beauty.
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 trains to Brooklyn were shit after the witching hour.
"You could always sleep over." Her touch became a caress.
I had wanted this woman so badly twenty years ago, that I would have set myself on fire to get her attention.
Now I could only say, "Not really."
"Not really." Her face adopted hard lines. No one had told her 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 Cece at a table in Paris with her model friends reviewing their love affairs. I had been with none of them.
"We always thought you were with one of us."
"One of you."
"Yes, a great beauty."
"Hah." Looks had never been a problem, but no one ever called me beautiful.
"You think that's funny?" Cece lowered her voice. "Your beauty was in that none of us slept with you. We called you the virgin and I guess we can call you that still."
"Oh." It was too late to relive the past and I pulled away my arm.
"Guess it is getting late."
"I guess so." I escorted her to the hotel.
Cece 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 fantasies, becasue they are too many to count on any man's fingers.