As a teenager I was an avid watcher of the reality tv show The Hills. I associated most with the best friend role/facial expressions of Whitney Port, although I always felt compelled towards the lead character, LC. LC was always falling for the wrong boy, getting entangled in needless friendship drama, and making stupid career moves which I thought I could relate to. At the end of the first season LC is presented with two conflicting offers: a summer internship in Paris with Teen Vogue and a summer vacation at a Malibu beach house with her on again off again alcoholic boyfriend. Like a complete idiot, LC chooses Malibu and tweens all over the continental US raised their fists in fury and protest. HOW COULD YOU CHOOSE A GUY OVER PARIS?! Several of the friends that I have made since that infamous mistake have sworn their sanity to me by saying that above all, they would choose Paris.
So when the decision came in 2011 to take a Fall break with my handsome plutonic friend Arturo to Paris you would think that I would make the clear choice. I am fairly certain that I had literally written “ALWAYS CHOOSE PARIS” on my mirror with permanent marker in my apartment. So what happened? I chose the alcoholic on again off again boyfriend. Sure I disguised my response with obvious responsibilities: “It would be difficult to get my shifts covered at the Writing Lab,” “I have TA tests to grade,” “It’s expensive,” “It’s the middle of the semester…” blah blah blah. Words. Empty words. If I had wanted to make it work I would have made it work. I think what I was scared of is possibility, the edge of the unknown. Arturo was older, established, kind, spiritual, the type of guy you would fall in love with after a two-week stint in the most romantic city in the world; complete marriage material. At the time I was on an off break with an anti-climactic boyfriend, swimming in a pool of quiet desperation, treading water until he decided to re-enter my life and drag me back down into the depths of despair. However horrible this sounded, and believe me, it was horrible, it was a pattern with which I was familiar. I knew how things would play out. I knew the imminent disappointment after the short-lived reunion joy. I also knew that I could handle it, as I had done so coolly before. What was actually scary was having a shot at a potentially satisfying thing, an authentic good guy and a genuine fairytale. How would things play out? What would happen if it worked out? What would happen if it didn’t? Would the pain from knowing I royally screwed up greatness be too much to bear? Would I make that fail into a symbol for my predestined never-ending unhappiness? If it did work out, would I have to change everything that I was used to in order to make this new relationship work? Probably. Definitely. The endless abyss of possibilities that came from this unknown became overwhelming and before I knew it, I was L.C. choosing Malibu.
About a month ago my bad habit kicked me. The on-again-off-again love/like of my life chose to take that leap into the unknown and marry a person with whom the future was undimmed by past cycles predicting upcoming unhappiness. And all I can do is sit alone in my actual beach house in Malibu (ironic no?), and think to myself “I should have chosen Paris.”