What's it about?
A Dream of Red Pavilions is a classic Chinese story about two heavenly beings, a rock spirit and a flower spirit, who wished to become humans. Their wish is granted by a giving monk and thus these spirits are reborn in the material world as cousins and destined to live together, but apart. We watch as the lives of our two main characters and the family that surrounds them build status for it only to come tumbling down (due to ill fate, weaknesses and bad karma).
Our rock spirit, Bou Yu, was faced with a difficult choice. He was to choose either our sickly flower spirit, Dai Yu, or the safer, more reliable option, Bai Chai. He ultimately choses the flower spirit because this is a fairly traditional romantic tale about fate and love - Bou Yu and Dai Yu were destined to be together. But nonetheless the situation is still very interesting.
What'd I experience?
So I want you to envision a scenario.
You are presented with two individuals. Both aren’t perfect but are very much close to your ideal. Both have certain characteristics you admire and certain characteristics you would rather change. Your task is to pick the person you want to spend your eternity with.
Person 1 is materialistically linked to you, for example, has a similar/complimentary name as yours.
Person 2 is linked to you emotionally, for example, you feel the universe pulling you two together.
Who would you pick?
Now let’s say person 1 is healthy, attractive, a bit conniving and loves you unconditionally.
Person 2 is gravely ill, sad almost all the time, smart but also loves you unconditionally.
Who would you pick now?
I know this situation sounds incredibly tedious and convoluted and I am almost 99.999% positive you will never be subjected to this in the real world but just for a moment let’s take the time to ponder.
I’m not totally sure who I would pick. I portray myself as a person who would pick the risky option because it seems like I'm all about living life to the fullest but I’m trying out the horrible saying “fake it till you make it.” Truthfully, I am a total coward when it comes to intimacy, love and relationships. I don’t think I would be ready for a whirlwind love story that would result in my life being forever altered for both the bad and the good.
Then again I can't help but think - shouldn't one take the road less traveled? When you’re old and dying, the things you remember about your life aren’t the safe and secure but the wonderful mistakes that gave your life meaning and flavor. Right? In my life, the risks I have taken have either resulted in good results or a sad but funny story I can tell my friends the next time we go out to eat. Person 2 would be a wonderful mistake. The type of person that would yield a beautiful story you’d be able to tell your children and your children’s children.
In this unforgiving day and age, a time where you are never truly safe, where risk is around every corner, who would you choose: The safe and long term option or the option that would make for a bittersweet romcom?