Ginny point blank refuses to apologize for not sending a single text to the contact saved as “Will (Tinder)” during the ten days she was in Europe.
Okay, she sent one text: “Just landed in Paris. ‘Clair de Lune’ is playing in the hotel lobby, reminded me of you! :)” First of all, calm down, Ginny. She had only been on three dates with Will when she sent this text, and had been talking to him for less than a month. His appreciation for “Clair de Lune” was one of two conversation topics that had made an impression on her. Will is bland. When he was not talking about music he was talking about his ex. Ginny wasted one European text on him because she was, once again, getting ahead of herself and idealizing her small interactions with this boy. Her text was evidence of a yearning for a connection rather than an actual connection.
Did Will text back? Yes. Did he text a couple more times over the course of the vacation? Yes. Did Ginny respond? No, though she did not completely give up on Will. The plane home had no sooner touched the JFK tarmac than Ginny sent a message to Will telling him she had arrived home. No response. Two days later she sent another text, and was again sent nothing back. In the past, Ginny would have spent weeks, maybe months, obsessing over why she had not gotten anything back. She would blame herself for being too eager, too forward, and, in the darkest moments of self-loathing born from another failed interaction with a boy, too smart and too confident. Maybe if I were dumber, Ginny would think to herself, I wouldn’t be alone. But that bullshit came from a pre-Paris Ginny, and the loss of Will happened to a post-Paris Ginny.
In the most romanticized and idealized city in the world, Ginny fell in love with herself. Ginny, who suffers travel anxiety, homesickness, and culture shock when she ventures just under two hours south to Manhattan, felt completely at home in Paris. While sailing down the Seine, viewing the David paintings in The Louvre, and inhaling the smell of fresh baguettes filtering from bakeries into cobblestoned streets, Ginny became more alive than she had ever been. Ginny as she was had been introduced to Ginny as she was meant to be. With the exception of Disney World, Ginny has never desired to return to a previous vacation spot. Every passing minute is now marked by a pining to once again walk amongst the monuments and street vendors alike before retiring to a bistro table with a glass of rosé.
Ginny does not know what it feels like to fall in love with another person, but when she fell in love with herself the process began slowly before sweeping her away in a whirlwind of new sensations. She put in the effort of doing her hair, applying lipstick, and wearing gorgeous dresses for Paris Ginny. She learned that making herself look good is not the chore she thought it would be, and post-Paris Ginny got a more high maintenance haircut so that she would need to set aside time for the small pleasure of doing her hair every morning. Ginny closed her eyes while she took her first sip of a new wine, and she learned that her favorites have floral or citrusy notes. Ginny tried foods and flavors she never would have considered. She can no longer imagine pairing pineapple with anything other than basil, but her favorite meal remains steak frites.
On her final night in Paris, Ginny and her family took a picnic to the Tuileries Garden. Between sips of champagne Ginny stole glances at an older woman eating her way through a solo picnic complete with a miniature bottle of white wine which she poured into a small glass before drinking. Ginny knew the woman was aware she was being watched, but Ginny could not look away. Normally the sight of people dining alone fills Ginny with an irrational and often overwhelming sorrow. That evening, however, Ginny thought to herself that if she were alone in the garden watching as the setting sun blended shades of pink, orange, and purple into the blue sky then she, too, would wear the same contented smile that adorned that woman’s face. Ginny walked slightly behind her family as they made their way back to the hotel after the sun had fully set on the city of lights. She danced along with music that filtered into the streets and took in the faces of the Parisians just beginning their night as hers came to an end. She relished in her joy.
And when her friends asked what had happened to Will, Ginny did not indulge any self-loathing. She shrugged and informed them that he had probably gotten back in touch with his ex.