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She dug her heel into the brick sidewalk of the Champs-Elysées. It had stopped raining, but the lingering wetness created a coat over the city that amplified each and every glistening light that already made Paris so romantic.
“How’s this?” she asked while holding her umbrella straight in the air.
Todd looked her up and down, first normally and then through the lens of her iPhone.
“I think it looks okay?” he asked.
With a sigh and her eyes rolling to the point where they nearly burst out of the top of her head, she frustratingly requested he take a test photo so she could see how it looked. Todd waved her over and turned up the brightness so she could see just exactly how the portrait mode photograph looked given the darkness of the night.
She squinted before a flurry of thoughts flooded her. She knew she had options, but she also knew that this Instagram post carried more weight than any post she has ever posted and will ever post.
“What if we did a Boomerang?” she asked him before realizing how stupid of a question it was. She nearly gagged just hearing those words come out of her mouth. “Actually, can you just take a normal picture and we can see?”
In her heels, she shuffled along the uneven sidewalk and took back her post in front of him.
“Okay, now,” she prompted him.
Todd took three photos all from different angles. One straight on, one above, and one below. “Alright, come over and take a look.”
She sighed again. With tourists and locals alike flooding around them attempting to make their way to their destinations, she held her hand over the iPhone trying to block the glare from the streetlights.
“Ughhhhhhh,” she groaned. “It just… it just looks so… so… basic.”
Frustrated, Todd finally admitted, “I just don’t know what you want me to do.”
But it was in his admission that she finally had her lightbulb moment.
“What if,” she began, “what if we did a…”
Todd looked at her and tried to coax the words out of her.
“Another portrait mode?” he asked.
“No,” she snapped back at him. “I can’t think of the freaking word.”
“A selfie?” he asked with reluctance.
“Ewww, no,” she responded with the wheels in her head still turning. “That video thing where everything goes super fast. What’s that called?”
Todd, fearing that he was going to say the wrong thing, asked her, “A timelapse?”
“Yes,” she exclaimed. “A timelapse!”
Again, she shuffled her heels across the sidewalk and stood with the umbrella pointed straight above her head and her palm facing her face, only slightly blocking it. Donning the ring Todd had just given her, she explained to him that he would press “record” and hold as still as humanly possible for the next sixty seconds while she stared closed-mouth smiling into the camera.
One by one during the longest sixty seconds of Todd’s life, Parisians shuffled left and right around her while muttering annoyances that neither she nor Todd could ever dream of translating. Or want to translate, for that matter. It wasn’t until the minute had passed that her arm grew tired and she could no longer hold it as still as she wanted to.
“Ughhhhhhh,” she moaned while lowering her hand as if she was doing the weights portion of her spin class. “Okay, let me see, let me see!”
Todd handed her phone back to her before taking his phone out of his coat pocket. She pressed play and scrutinized her every move, of which there were very few. First annoyed with the people flocking around her trying not to run into her, she soon realized that it somehow made it more “authentic.” That she was part of the city and the city was part of her. Still staring down at the video, she sarcastically asked, “What if this gets, like, less than 1,000 views on Insta? I’d freaking kill myself.”
Todd smirked and kind of laughed wishing the entire experience would be over. Not only did they end their reservation early so they could do an impromptu photo shoot for the ring, but they had walked through the wet streets attempting to find the perfect location to do so. He was tired and the high from the proposal had worn off — partially because he hadn’t totally adjusted to the Paris time change and partially because they had fired down two bottles of Dom Perignon in celebration, most of which was consumed by him while she stared longingly at her hand.
“Todd,” she lead on making him fear that they’d have to re-take it, “I think it’s perfect.”
He was relieved. Relieved everything went off without a hitch, relieved she was happy, and relieved they could make their way back to their hotel room for engagement sex and a good night’s rest before their last day in the city.
After considering making the video black and white to make it more romantic, she came to the conclusion that over-filtering it would spoil the overally effect of Paris in the background. “I can’t wait until tomorrow,” she followed up. “I’m posting it now.”
Todd stared down at his phone trying to figure out which direction their Uber was coming from. He still had no grasp on the city but he figured it would pull up on the side street near them.
When they finally got in, Todd looked over and noticed she had yet to post it. “What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Is it too basic if I caption it with this?” she questioned while holding the phone up to his face.
I said “Oui!” followed by a ring emoji, a champagne emoji, and a confetti emoji.
While weighing the caption, Todd took the phone and watched the video back. Standing motionless on the streets of Paris flaunting her new ring while the city bustled around her, he began thinking of the life he was about to lead until death did them part. He thought about the road that had lead them to their relationship, their life together, to Paris, and finally to the Champs-Elysées where they had gotten in a car just before it began raining again.
“Todd,” she nudged, snapping him out of his daze. “Is the caption okay or not? I want to post.”
“Yeah, yeah,” he assured her handing the phone back over. “It’s perfect.”
With a tap of her finger, she posted it and turned her phone over onto her lap before leaning over and grabbing him the arm. She nuzzled her head into his shoulder before looking up at him and mouthing, “I love you.” He reciprocated just before their driver turned up the radio playing a nondescript jazz tune that Todd figured he would remember for months, if not years.
Checking his phone to see the status of their ride, it greenlit her opportunity to check her phone as well.
“Are…” she hesitated. “Are you fucking serious?”
In what she had anticipated being her most like post ever showed nothing but eight likes and 23 views in the four minutes since posting.
“Even fucking Caroline hasn’t liked it yet,” she followed up while Todd queued up Instagram so he could like it himself.
Todd mentally calculated the time difference between the states and Paris only to clarify, “Well, it is like three in the morning back home,” he broke to her.
“But, like, still,” she let out with even more frustration. “Does Caroline not even have fucking notifications set up for my posts? Did you not tell anyone you were doing this tonight? This is so embarrassing.”
Todd’s tired mind struggled to find the proper words to console her in this petty situation.
“Honestly,” she said while rapidly swiping down to refresh her view and like count, “I might just delete and post in the morning. This is a disaster.” .