No Excuses, No Apologies, No Regrets.

November 7, 2008
By Inna Yakovlev, Toronto, ZZ

No Excuses. No Apologies. No Regrets.

Biggest piss off of my life.
Why does everything always happen to me?

I was so excited to finally go and see my boyfriend who has been away in University for three months. Knowing him, he probably had enough girls during that time, but he knew it was fine with me as long as he was safe and didn't kiss them. As long as he knew I was there and was the only one for him, we were good. Same went for me.

It was winter, and the weather was a pain. Driving all the way to the campus added up to roughly five hours with good weather and traffic conditions. I guess nothing was going to work out this time. I don't know why I agreed to go up there given the heavy snow, cold, and wind. I guess I really did 'love' him'


I never paid too much attention to that thought. I'm sure he didn't, either. We'd never said 'I love you' or made plans for the future because we were ready to face the fact that one day, we may just part, and we don't owe anything to each other. It was our choice, and it was mutual. We had a motto-

No excuses, no apologies, no regrets.

So, along with all my excitement, some clothes for the weekend, and food and money for the road, I drove in the stupid snow up north to see my Tom.

A boring two-and-a-half-hours-of-driving later, I saw police cars blocking the highway, with police dudes yelling into amplifiers:

'There's a roadblock, people! You're gonna have to turn around and return, because this road won't be opening until late tomorrow night! We can't tell what happened exactly just yet. All we know is that it is serious enough that we have to take these measures!'

Are you kidding me?

I was almost half-way there, and in this weather, what long way could I possibly take? I would end up driving forever. It was already 4pm. I can go home, but that's probably gonna take just as long.

What was I supposed to do?

I took an exit that lead me off the highway, and stopped for a hot-chocolate at a small coffee shop, massively overloaded with people. There, I was oh so luckily acquainted with my boyfriend's older brother, Jake, who I also dated in the dark days of my past.
Of all places and people!
How fortunate was I?!

He approached me as I started to panic. I didn't want to talk to him or merely look at him. He made me sick to my stomach, and he was right there. And I was alone. And he was sitting beside me. And he said Hello.

I focused on my lid-less Christmas-decorated medium paper-cup.

'You gonna say anything?' I felt him staring at me, hard. His eyes were burning a hole in my face. I didn't wanna speak.

'Jake, just because we happened to bump ways, doesn't mean we have to talk.' I concentrated on the steam that was escaping my hot-chocolate.

'Going to see Tom, are you?' he continued, completely dismissing what I have just said.

'Again' I raised my eyes to his face, 'we don't have to talk, we really don't' I stared into his eyes with a blank expression on my face as I got up to leave.

'Hold on, wait, this is serious stuff, stay' he grabbed my arm.

I examined his face, which looked almost exactly like Tom's, but had a scar on his forehead which was a reminder of a brotherly childhood scuffle that didn't end too well. A reminder of how early his bad relationship with Tom was born.

'What do you want from me?' I snatched my arm from his surprisingly soft grip.

'There's a roadblock. Do you have anywhere to go?'
That was the serious stuff he was talking about?

I got my bag. 'I'll find somewhere. Goodbye Jake'.

When I got into my car, I saw him at my window. I read his lips saying 'hold on, just listen' as he came closer. As much as I wanted to leave, I rolled down my window.
He better have something intelligent to say.
I stared at him.

Do you want?'

'Okay look, I know me and you don't have great memories, and I don't want to talk about us. I swear. I just wanna talk about Tom. He's changed, and I think you need to know some things before you go see him''

'If he had such great big changes to talk about, I'm sure he'll open his mouth to speak. He's more than capable.'

'You guys' relationship is so different, though, I don't know how you'll react, I think''

At that, I rolled the window back up and drove off, leaving him with his B.S. stories.

Good god.

He always did this. I wish he wasn't Tom's brother. I wish Tom's brother was a normal human being, with a different name, like Bill or something, and that I never dated him in the past. My life would be so much easier.

Jake always kept trying to break me and Tom up. Bill would never do that.

On my way back, I decided to call Tom and tell him that there was no way I could make it this time around, which really sucked majorly. He didn't answer his phone, though.

Damn it.

I wish I didn't have to bump into stupid Jake. Now I had all these thoughts about Tom changing. What could have possibly happened?
He wouldn't leave me, I don't think. We've never been that kind of couple. We had it good, both of us. I really did miss him. I wish I could see him soon.

Stupid Roadblock.

I wonder what had happened. Maybe the snow was so bad; they couldn't shovel the road properly or something. Jerks. Stopping me from seeing my Tom.

Not thinking about it too much, I tried calling him again. No answer, again. DAMN. What was going on today?

I left him a message about the amount of stupidity I went through today, and delivered the, oh so fortunate, news about my future lack of presence in his dorm.

I knew he would pick up an argument with Jake for his crap later on, and I was bound to hear all about it in my ear, through the telephone.
Not face to face.
All because of that stupid roadblock.

Being the holy matter that it was, I also had to leave my mother a message, telling her to expect my behind on her couch when she and her husband get home. To avoid all mass-confusion and unexpected-surprises, that was.

Some exhausting hours later, I arrived back at home. Cold, displeased, and bored. Sucks that I wasted so much gas for no reason.

God damn it.

I turned on some music and prepared a hot cup of tea. The warm liquid felt so nice, soothing my cold body.

I really freakin' missed him.

Just as I swallowed my last drops of the only source of warmth out of my cup, the parents came through the door, welcoming an insane amount of cold wind into the house, sending shivers up my spine.


Mom approached me, holding back tears' 'ARE YOU OKAY?'

Why wouldn't I be okay? I'll survive. I'll just see him when I get the chance.

'Talk to me, how do you feel?'
Okay. Even my mother wasn't this dramatic. Ever. I had to ask-
'What are you talking about?'

'Oh no'' she covered her lips with a gloved hand, and a tear escaped her eye, making a trail on her cheek.


What the heck'?

She sat beside me. 'You didn't listen to the radio? Watch the news?'

I never listened to the radio nor watched television. I despised the media.

I stared at her, awaiting further explanation.

'Tom'' she continued


'TOM WHAT?' I jumped 'did he call?'

'I thought you knew'

'Well, I don't know. What am I supposed to know?? What did he say?'

'He didn't' He was involved in the accident which caused the''


I was choking.

'CRAP. Is he gonna be okay? Did you talk to his mom?'

She started crying as I picked up my cell-phone to try him again. His mom. Jake. ANYONE.



'Mother, is he going to be okay? Please tell me he's okay!' I continued abusing my phone.

'He' He didn't make it'' she choked on tears.

My heart dropped and everything was moving slow-motion.

Didn't make it?
What the HELL was that supposed to mean?
Didn't make WHAT?


'No' Nonono NO!' I kept dialing until my fingers hurt. I didn't know what I was doing. I was weak. Weightless. My limbs went numb.
Everything became a blank TV-screen.


I slept so much; I was probably already dead and didn't know it. When I finally picked up my phone to check my messages, I had a billion missed calls and voicemails. One of them was from Jake.


It took everything in me to dial those little buttons again and listen to the animated voice coming from that little metal box.

After pressing a thousand keys for options, I was finally blessed with the most enlightening message of my life, delivered by the voice of no other than Mr. Angel-from-above, himself: Jake.

'Hey. We've been looking for you. I don't even know what to tell you. I don't know what there is to say.'
He spoke in the saddest possible way.
'We found out shortly after I saw you in the coffee-house''
'They found some stuff in his jacket that was meant for you. I left it with your mom yesterday. You were asleep, so we didn't want to interfere with the rest you need''
'He also' wrote some words that he was going to present to you. He had something planned' that's why I wanted to talk to you'I really hope that'' his voice faded as I looked around my room for whatever it was they found.

I spotted a plastic bag with a piece of white paper and something shiny inside. It definitely did not belong to me.

Jake's voice was still in the background as I reached for the plastic bag, and opened it with my cold, shaky hands.

There was a ring there. A freakin' ring.


Waterfalls escaped my eyes and I felt myself choking on each droplet as I unfolded the paper, barely able to hold it in my hands.

Baby, I know we've had an amazing 6 years with all the fun we could possibly have. We've managed to stay together through everything.
I know this is so unlike us, but I wanna try and make it work like 'they' do.
I really do love you. I wanted to make sure you know that. I would never lie to you, and I'm so thankful that you've been in my life all this time.
Now, you can take this ring as whatever you want it to be. It can mean love. It can mean companionship. It can mean marriage.
I want it to mean marriage. I can't imagine living my life without you in it. It wouldn't be complete.
So, whatever you decide to make of this, I've engraved our most important thing inside the ring. We've lived by it this long, and I think we can manage forever.
I love you more than words can express.
What do you say?

I took the ring. Inside, it read:

No excuses. No apologies. No regrets.

I put it on my ring finger. Right where it belonged.

We had it coming. But for Tom, I'm willing to live forever by it.

No excuses. No apologies. No regrets.

I love you, Tom.

The author's comments:
This started off as an in-class short-story writing. I didn't think i was capable of writing a good short story but ended up being really proud of this one and therefore submitted it to the contest =)

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