that makes my heart hurt. Speaking of "the one that got away," my story isn't quite as dramatic, but still a bummer of a life lesson.
When I was in high school I had an '85 Honda Accord that I think I gave $2000 for... this would've been about '96 when I had just turned driving age. Later that year I saw up for sale a gorgeous '63 Strat in candyapple red... a factory refinish that had been done in the mid '60s, and it had been refretted. Nicely worn in.
The price was $1700. I mean hey, it was the '90s... the "vintage" guitars were the ones that had never been refinished or refretted (even old factory refins would slash the price in half).
It was an exceptional guitar... hindsight can make things seem better than they were, but I still feel like it was the best strat I've ever played. Several times a year I think about it and regret that I didn't flog that Honda, buy the guitar, and ride the damn bus.