The moment I came round into that air-choked swirl of the night-tainted blood-tempered dawn of a crumbling, mirrored city of poverty and wealth; I was distantly aware that I had only hours before, some thirty-one years prior, been born. It was that blink of an eyelid of realisation that ended my youth in its most permanent entirety. For youth knows no concept of death and is indeed its antithesis – yet I lay dying. Youth is always a warm-hearted handshake and never a coffin’s farewell, yet my body was shivering as I fought with fading distorting vision to desperately seek the location of my mobile and send a muted signal of distress some twelve thousand kilometers, to the source of the same day thirty-one years before, to somehow express the regret that she would have to incinerate the lifeless body of her youngest son. The regret, the thing no youthful heart should know of, cemented the parting of eras, the planting of paradigms and the end of an unpaved side street lined with sheets of rusting corrugated iron. For as I lay convulsing blood and bile and the shattered fragments of over ten-thousand days of growth and degeneration, I felt no real pain, no real fear; just regret. And as the blood slowly made its stream diagonally  through the tiles before breaking banks and moving onwards and outwards towards its own restful conclusion, I understood, that for all the things I had regretted in life, and there were many, I could never regret anything quite as much as regret itself.

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