Part II of I: Regret

To be honest, I don’t remember much from the month of January other than constantly hearing the never ceasing chant “second semester senior! second semester senior! second semester senior! second sem-“. But aside from that incessant chant, the idea of “college” is constantly lingering at the back of my mind. Well, for starters, one of the schools that I applied to already began their early acceptance of applicants and, well, as I had predicted, I wasn’t among that pool. But to be fair, I wasn’t expecting much. In a school where I am constantly competing against the girl and boy that sits next to me in Physics or Literature, I don’t stand too high above my peers. Rather, I fall kind of short. Although I still have a chance at the aforementioned university (they’re throwing me back into the regular decision pool), my gut is telling me that maybe it’s time to prepare myself for the worse – rejection. Nowadays, we’re stuck in a society where we constantly tell ourselves, our friends, our family members that it’s okay to fail. It’s okay to fall from the highest peak in your life, because the only way to go from the bottom, is well, up. But sometimes, it’s not okay. It’s not okay to be rejected from your dream college. It’s not okay to lose a family member who you never had the chance to cherish. And it’s most definitely not okay to suppress your dreams for the sake of others – if you want that McFlurry in the middle of the night, go for it – deal with your mom’s nagging later. Worry about the now – not the later or the before.

Yet I admit, I’m probably one of those people who see my friends cry and immediately let the two (or technically, three) dreaded words slip out of my mouth: it’s okay.

This month, one of my friend’s grandma was admitted to the hospital for a collapsed lung the day right before my friend’s birthday. As I handed my friend a hasty stash of toilet paper that I quickly rolled up from a bathroom stall, I almost let the words “it’s okay,” escape my lips while I was comforting her. But in that moment, I knew it was not okay. In that moment, I saw a reflection of myself nearly 4 months ago – my grandpa had gotten a stroke and he was going to be taken off of life support in three days, only a week before my birthday. In that moment, I saw my four-month-ago self, sobbing at the helpless state of my grandpa who was connected to tubes and wires in the ICU room. To lose a grandparent, or really, anyone you loved is truly heartbreaking. But to lose someone who you never had the chance to properly interact with — the incompetent-at-Chinese me who could never hold a conversation longer than 30 seconds with my grandpa; my friend, who hadn’t seen her grandma for the past five years because they lived in different countries — it hurts. You are flooded with pain and anguish, but above all, regret. So when I heard other people comfort my friend with words of reassurance (they said those two forbidden words) I wanted to run out of the room, because it’s not okay. At the present moment, it is not okay. In the future, it will be okay, but not now.

**Part III will come soon!

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