Regrets of Seventeen
by John Carney

It was my turn to take one for the team
The weather was turning, autumn was getting old
Newly evicted from our hangout we needed a place
Just ask her out and we had a place to stay
A house for the gang in exchange for being a boyfriend

But it wasn’t as simple as that
The girl had a girl of two
A mother, a daughter
Not just a girlfriend, something way more
A house in exchange for being a father figure

At seventeen, an instant family
It was now my turn to take one for the new team
It was winter out there
Almost as warm as a home in here
A child’s loving smile continuously melting my heart

Yet, high school and friends were my reality
Fatherhood at seventeen held too much responsibility
For someone who was really just a faker and a taker
Greatest intentions divided by immature actions
Creating such heartache when looking back

Too weak to tell my parents my girlfriend has a daughter
How do I tell my parents their son loves this family role?
Sparing my grandmother this news was paramount
As if being an out of control drunk was still Christian
But loving a girl with a child at sixteen was not

Hiding this new family from my own was warping
Beginning a series of major regrets
Not sharing that little girl’s love with my parents
Projections and fear of what others would think
Froze my heart and melted that child’s smile

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Mel and me getting decorations ready for her birthday party.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Seventeen was such a tough age. Part of me saw clear sailing on all the opportunities ahead, but mostly, fear had me by the short hairs at the back of my neck and controlled me like a Catholic school nun. So many decisions were based on what others thought instead of what really mattered to me.  People-pleasing makes it easy to hide what we really feel, but racing fear is always a losing proposition.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Carney has been writing as self-expression for the past eight years. He began writing as a way to pass time on the train and his passion has been ignited by the reward of finding the blank page filled with ideas, emotions, and thoughts that somehow make their way through the pen to the paper. He has recently begun writing and editing short stories from his youth, and working through edits of his first historical fiction novel. He recently took part in the Silver Birch Press “Me, in a Hat” Series.