«If you could go back in time and relive one moment, so you could do it differently, which would it be?” Mike asked his grandfather a question that he had thought about a million times before. It was a seemingly easy question; one which, however, was very difficult to answer. Because, really, if you were given the chance, would you want to have a do-over?
Grandfather Joe thought about it for a few minutes before answering.
“I’ll tell you a story,” he said.
“There was once a young boy. He was raised in a poor family and began to work from a very young age. He was imbued with the mentality that that is what people should do – earn their living in any way possible. So he worked in various jobs – from farming, to sheep-herding, to a cabin boy, to a waiter, to a teacher, to an office assistant. He did whatever he could find, because he believed this was the best way to earn experience.
One day, a renowned matador came to his village. He offered a bull fighting show, which gathered the entire village into the town square and at the end of it, he made a very interesting proposition. He said that he would give a tonne of gold to the person from that village who would be able to subdue the bull. Everyone had seen that the bull was very aggressive, and indeed very tough. No-one deemed themselves capable of such a feat. But the young boy stood up and declared he was up for the challenge. “I’ll do it,” he said decisively. The villagers gasped. They were certain he would be devoured by the bull in no time. But, at the same time, they were all intrigued to see what would happen.
So the boy stepped into the middle of the town square. He took the matador’s symbolic red cloth and waved it in front of the raging bull. The latter was snuffing air out of its nostrils, shaking the ground as it prepared to attack. The boy swerved as the bull scraped past the cloth. The animal became angrier. It missed again and again. Its rage increased with every miss. But the boy remained composed and continued. To the audience’s amazement, he then dropped the cloth and allowed the bull to run straight into him. But the minute the bull lowered its head, protruding its horns, the boy swiftly grabbed them and in an acrobatic move jolted himself above the bull’s head and onto its back. The bull-fight quickly turned into a rodeo contest with the bull kicking and screaming angrily at the unwanted rider. But the boy then struck a nerve on the bull’s neck with a sudden move of his right hand, and the rage abruptly ended. The village square sunk into silence. The boy climbed down the bull’s back, as if he was dismounting a horse. He approached the dumbstruck matador and asked calmly “may I please have that tonne of gold now?”.
The matador was amazed. The villagers broke into loud cheers and applaud. The matador was forced to keep his word and handed over the tonne of gold, but he asked the boy the one question that was on everyone’s mind: “how did you do that?”
The boy responded calmly, “I have done so many things in my life, things which many consider are demeaning or unworthy, but I regret none, because everything has taught me something and most of all I have learnt that you need to grab every opportunity that presents itself at that precise moment because it may never come again”.
“So,” concluded the grandfather, “to answer your question, if I lived again, I don’t think I would do anything differently. It’s not about regretting the things you did. It’s about regretting the things you didn’t do when you had the chance”.
Also part of Daily Prompt: If I could turn back time
Posted in Short Stories
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