I climb three flights of moving escalator stairs to the top floor of Falabella, a well-known department store in Colombia. I’ve never been to this level before. Usually I enter on the ground floor, peeking around the ladies department before exiting to more familiar territory.
But I’m not here to shop for myself. I’ve come to buy a wedding present.
On the third floor, I’m directed down a long, gray hall equipped with special service desks. There’s the desk to pay your bills, the travel desk, the insurance desk, and the wedding desk. I stop in front of the latter and sit down in front of two perky shop assistants.
I smile back at them and offer up the names of the bride and groom. One of them starts clacking away at her keyboard, the glow of her computer screen reflecting off her hot pink lipstick.
Underneath the glass surface of her desk, the cover of a wedding album stares back at me. The shot is taken from above, showcasing the perfectly polished and gorgeous Paisa bride and her groom, another perfectly polished specimen. Her blonde hair is set in perfect ringlets, her French manicured nails clasped around her new husband’s hand.
On top of the desk are two stacks of flyers. One features a wistful looking bride in white gloves and matching white veil, the words above her head stating, “One more motivation to get married. Choose your list of gifts in Falabella.” The next pictures a smiling baby, advertising baby shower list services.
What else could a young woman need?
The clerk stops typing and prints out a list of available presents the couple has chosen. I circle a knife set and some other piece of kitchenware. She floats off to check the store’s inventory and leaves me to my thoughts.
While I wait, I imagine my good friend and his bride-to-be sitting in these chairs scanning catalogs, or walking around the store picking out cutlery and rice cookers and washer/dryer combinations. I picture their excited faces, their giddiness, not because appliance shopping is so thrilling, but because it must all feel so grown up.
I try to envision myself in the hot seat, choosing my own list of household goods. My mind rejects the thought. I glance at the flyers again. The baby stares back at me. A slight shudder washes through my insides.
It’s not that I am anti marriage or babies. I’m not. Anyone who is living the life of their dreams, whether it be traipsing around faraway places or raising babies with their high school sweetheart in their hometown, rock on.
I just don’t see it for myself. While it’s long been evident that the life I lead now and in the future will always be far from ordinary, for the better part of my adult years I had wished that someday I would have a nomadic partner and kids of my own.
It’s only recently that the fantasy has begun to fade. It’s been replaced with visions of myself running a successful internet-based empire, expat-ing in some of the world’s most cosmopolitan hubs, going to uber-cool events with an uber-cool group of international friends, acting with complete freedom and confidence at every turn.
When I see the future me, the me of my fantasies, I’m not wearing a ring. There’s no man’s hand attached to mine. No picking out toasters for my bridal registry. And yet I am satisfied.
At this point, my dear, caring readers, whom have offered me lots of support and advice over the years, like when I broke up with my boyfriend almost a year ago, may have the urge to write in the comment box: “Don’t give up! You might change your mind!” or “You’re just saying that because you haven’t found Mr. Right yet. Don’t worry, he’s out there waiting for you!”
And I’d say to you that you might be right. It’s possible that in a month’s time I’ll be caught eloping in some drive-through wedding chapel in Vegas. I’ve been known to change my mind.
But if you’re not right, if there really is no Mr. Right but a few Mr. Pretty-Cools-But-Not-For-Forever, I’m still going to feel satisfied with my life.
I am so happy for my friend, marrying the woman he loves, following what his heart says is right.
And I’m so happy it’s not me.