July 12, 2019,

She quietly sat at the restaurant bar counter looking into the massive mirror behind it, admiring her youth and beauty with a knowing smile.

A girl on top of the world with everything going for her and everyone either admiring, desiring or hoping that for a moment she will fall in love with them.

Peter felt that way as he quietly gazed at her fawning over herself, looking straight ahead into the mirror but seemingly aware that he was watching her.

He could hear Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie Number One softly playing in the background.

Her?

Narcissistic?

In this life he didn’t stand a chance, even if he wasn’t married, which he was.

It was he who had evolved into the man that he was at 30, based upon the choices that he had made.

He imagined this fairytale princess with a bolder more emotionally detached male who was a risk-taker.

That man could care less about her beauty because he had ten more beauties waiting for him tomorrow.

Right now it was her time to be the star of the moment.

Though a chair was empty next to her, Peter quietly took a seat further down the bar and looked at the menu. He accepted the choices he had made when he was younger, though from time to time he dreamed of another road he could have chosen that would have changed his life and more importantly internally change him.

That bolder road not taken did not involve a wife and children.

Why do so many of us choose the pathway leading to marriage and children and then down the road almost always wonder about that other life we could have chosen, the one where we have to push ourselves to be more capable, but didn’t?

It was a more exciting and challenging path where after college we travel for our career, meet fascinating people and in the process become more fascinating ourselves?

Have you ever wondered that yourself?

We think we have found the answer to that question that has perplexed us for some time.

Where? As we often do, we turn to film.

The brilliant team at siskelfilmcenter.org summarizes the 2016 movie 2 Nights Till Morning:

“French architect Caroline and Finnish musician Jaakko connect at a hotel bar in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius and wake up in bed together the next morning: no fuss, no strings, no commitments. But, when a volcanic ash cloud from Iceland delays Caroline’s flight out indefinitely, the pair are compelled to reevaluate their relationship — just a one-night stand, or something less ephemeral?”

It is a searching question because in the beginning of the film, both Caroline and Jaako appear to have the lives that have evolved on the more exciting and risk taken road less traveled.

fciwomenswrestling.com femcompetitor.com, pexels.com pixabay.com photo

They are both attractive, have mesmerizing careers, myriads of people dependent upon them making good decisions and the financial rewards to go with it.

It is those careers that help land them into high end hotels and eventually each other’s arms.

Before watching the film, the title of it could make you nervous if you want something much deeper than the run of the mill thriller.

They tease, “A one-night stand between strangers takes an unexpected turn when an ash cloud strands them.”

Typically when we’ve read trailers like that, there tends to be a moral play involved. The one night stand is between highly successful and attractive people committed to others in an important relationship, possibly marriage.

In other words they are cheaters. Is that direct enough?

Then the clichés spring into action.

He turns into a stalker.

She is going to fall in love with him and want him to leave his wife.

He is going to blackmail her.

He is a suave serial killer.

Yawn.

Please spare us that.

We can get that on the Lifetime Movie Network any day of the week.

We go to the movies, especially foreign ones, for something far more deeper and richer that speaks to real life so we can learn something from it and hope to feel better about the major decisions that we have made or push us closer to the edge of making a decision to transition into a new life, even with its risks.

This film delivers in diamonds.

Normally these elite life livers would be gone the next morning but that darn unexpected ash cloud cancels all flights out and forces them to stay at the hotel and voluntarily with each other.

That is a frightening prospect.

Now they will have to decide if they want to emotionally invest in one another, both aware that part of the reason they slept together the night before is because something is missing in the relationships they already have and now you may have someone gently place a mirror up in front your face and show that some of what is lacking in that relationship has to do with you.

fciwomenswrestling.com femcompetitor.com, YuYu studio ohoto credit

It is much easier to put on your best face with strangers, dressed to the nines and spinning with confidence knowing that you will never see them again nor they you and your warts.

For one night it is magic and perfection and it is best not to stay over the next day.

In the above entrancing movie, Caroline and Jaakko make the decision to stay, knowing the emotional risks of having the sheen and luster wear off, and it does. They do see their warts, imperfections and downsides of making the decision to live your life early for you and not anyone else.

Not for children.

Not for husband or wife.

Not for society.

For you.

But you know what? For them it was worth it. Though mirrors were placed in front of both of their faces, and it cracked, at least a little, something more rich and revealing came out of it as they eventually, tearfully hugged good bye.

Interestingly in our first real life story with Peter, approximately 15 years later he would see that beautiful girl again.

Only this time she was a woman.

A woman who had seen one too many one night stands with daring handsome men of risk and courage who never call you back.

Her face was different now. Very attractive, yes, but the youthful sheen of narcissistic perfection was gone and was replaced by wisdom, disappointment, mild bitterness and refreshing maturity.

It was lunch time again and that day Peter, still married, was sitting at a sidewalk café having coffee with a male friend.

She noticed him and he her.

Their glances were passing and knowing, as though they remembered that brief encounter that years ago went nowhere.

His choice then.

Now she would be more open to men like Peter and while years ago Peter made a choice to sit in an empty seat away from her, this time it was she who decided to get up, walk away and have lunch elsewhere.

She knew the Peters of the world we’re never going to have the courage to take the risk to sit next to her.

With the song, Our Winter Love, playing in the background, Peter quietly and sadly watched her walk away.

He would never see her again.

“Every man builds his world in his own image. He has the power to choose, but no power to escape the necessity of choice.”… Ayn Rand

He made his choices early in life.

He decided to live with them.

Why?

Let’s face it, Peter is so reflective of many of us. Why do some of us make that traditional and predictable choice?

It has to do with elegant five star hotels where you can watch the city lights from the 25th floor.

There is nothing that will make you reflect upon your life more than being alone in that upscale wonderfully quiet room with nicely framed mirrors, fine sheets, real mahogany furniture and all of the touches of a global brilliant designer.

Everyone is gone now.

Your business meetings are done for the day.

It is just you in that room, looking out over the city of strangers below and your life straight ahead.

Therein is the key.

No matter how important a deal that you just closed that day, down below you are strangers who don’t know you or care about what you did earlier.

Nothing personal.

That is why most of us, as enticing as it is, do not choose the road of self and career first.

Because in the morning, after you’ve packed your designer travel bags along with your upscale memories of elegant one night stands of perfection with intriguing strangers wealthy with panache, and departed, a professional cleaning staff will come in and freshen the room to perfection awaiting the next guests.

All traces of you will be gone.

And they and the world, will never know that you were ever there.

fciwomenswrestling.com femcompetitor.com, pexels.com rawpixel.com photo

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Opening photo YuYu studio

https://www.siskelfilmcenter.org/2nights

https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/choice