A Time Machine Can't Change What's Meant To Be
By Lauralyn Avallone
I recently borrowed a friend's tape of the now defunct WB drama series, Felicity. Since I missed the series finale six months ago, I just had to see what happened to the beloved, angst-ridden students of the fictitious University of New York. The gist of the series was this shy, sweet girl, Felicity, finds out the day of her high school graduation that a boy she's had a crush on in turn had a crush on her, but never acted on it. He wrote a love letter in her yearbook, which prompted her to follow him across the country to attend the same college as he in Manhattan.
Nave, gullible and way too sweet for the city, Felicity ends up caught in a confusing, hurtful love triangle between two adorable boys. Ben is the cool one, slightly aloof, mysterious, sexy, brooding and prone to breaking Felicity's fragile heart. Noel is dorky, lovable, cute in the boy-next-door sort of way, prone to being Felicity's best friend in times of trouble. Whether chemistry or the inevitable innocent girl wants the bad boy phase, Felicity ends up choosing Ben, who in turn, gets an older woman knocked up on a one night stand, and later cheats on Felicity with a mutual friend.
(Yeah, it's a mess. It's the WB network, and this show follows Dawson's Creek, so what do you expect?)
In the final episode, a fed up, weepy and drunken Felicity tells her friend if she had to do it all again, she would choose Noel. Her friend whips up a Wiccan spell and sends the melancholy girl back in time for a second chance to make her decision.
Reversing three years in history, Felicity now chooses her trusted friend, Noel. In making this choice, the future as she knew it changes drastically. Noel realizes Felicity will always love Ben and will probably never be over him, so he leaves her. She ends up back with Ben, and Noel tragically dies in a fire.
At first, I thought this season finale was absurd, resorting to time traveling its characters. But there was a deeper message and it left me with thoughts to ponder.
How many people have that one love that they've never forgotten? That they still wonder, what if? And how many people would travel back in time, if they had the chance, to see if they could revive what was? And if they did, would things turn out differently or would fate lead to yet the same outcome, just via a different path?
As I was watching the commercials on the tapes, I was brought back in time myself. I saw a trailer of the movie, About a Boy. It was to be released that week. It was a movie that would be the first I would see with a date who would actually stick around for more dates, a guy who would be a mix of Noel and Ben, the mix that every girl hopes for.
It made me think back to my life before those dates; of previous dates with Ben's and Noel's and all the heartbreak that followed. I thought how at the time this season finale aired I had no idea what the future had in store for me. I had no idea how my love life would change. We live one day at a time, there is no other option, we can't go back and we can't go forward, which is why it is so easy when you're single to rehash past relationships and mull over the what ifs, the regrets. If we could go forward and peek into the cookie jar of our future, we wouldn't have any angst in the present. We'd know everything would work out. We wouldn't be alone, which would make being alone in the moment a lot easier.
If I could turn back time, would I change anything? Is there an old love that, given the chance and the knowledge I have now, I would resurrect? In my early '20's, I was Felicity: nave, confused, with a crush on every corner. I've been a fool, made mistakes. If I went back and changed my actions, did things differently, would I not be where I am or who I'm with now?
In my case, I wouldn't want that second chance. I wouldn't change a thing, even the embarrassing moments. Because if it weren't for them, I wouldn't be who I am today, and I like who I am. Going back in time would be cheating; the whole point of growing old is to gain wisdom. What fun would there be in life if we knew what we do now when we were in kindergarten? Nothing would be new.
Dating is a learning experience, so is marriage. The education of relationships and love never ends, it just grows and expands and makes us richer. Heartbreak is necessary in the learning process. If we haven't known pain, then how can we appreciate joy?
In the end, Felicity wakes up realizing it was all a dream. She also realizes that even though Ben has hurt her, she can't stop herself from loving him. She has no regrets letting Noel go, and watching him marry someone else. At one point in the show, Noel tells a distraught Felicity, "If it's meant to be, it will be."
"Yeah, that means it will never be," she responds.
We learn through the show (and in the drama series of our lives) that the old saying can ring true. Life is unpredictable...or is it?