A year ago, more or less, I was offered the chance to audition at an independent music house in Manila to become part of their annual concert featuring new and upcoming artists. Apparently they heard my songs and were interested, poorly recorded as it all were, and that they would be – and this will be verbatim – “happy to have you on the set list”. My brotherfriend (who is a friend I treat and think of as a brother, duh, please don’t remind me of my name skills) told me that I was free to stay in their Manila home (then empty, if I recall correctly) during the trip, and that he’d even pay for my transportation expenses if I were willing to skip class for a day or two. He wanted me to audition. His brother, also aware of my musical alterego, kept on insisting that I show up.
I said no, naturally, because I am the occasional fool and I did not know what to tell my mother and grandmother. “I’m leaving to audition for a concert” would inevitably translate to “I’m leaving for a few days to go to Manila alone and sing for a couple of people in the hopes of fulfilling some obviously futile dream of becoming a singer, effectively taking the first step in abandoning my college education and turning into a slightly-better version of my father by failing to get accepted into the concert set list and ending up working in some obscure restaurant on minimum wage at least, and forever regretting not getting that Accountancy degree.” I’m aware of the possible exaggeration of that, but with the way my folks’ brains work, I’m sure the actual results would have deviated only very marginally.
So that was that. I said no, and to this day I’m still haunted by the possibilities that could have been if only I said yes. Singing skills aside, I seriously doubt my ability to stay in such a toxic environment. I know myself that much, at least. But every now and then I catch myself sighing longingly, and my thoughts drift to that world, that universe, where I would have said yes and things would have so much more different.
And there it is, one more regret added to the ever-growing list.