A Disclaimer: These characters are the property of MTV, and the intellectual property of the creators of Daria. I appreciate their indulgence in letting me build a world around them. I am doing this for love, not money, so please do not get your panties in a twist about it. Thanks.


The Road Not Taken


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost


Daria was staring at her ceiling. It was the dead of night and she couldn't sleep. She flipped her pillow over trying to get a cool spot, but it didn't calm the thoughts swirling around her head. She was torn between two worlds. Tomorrow, her two best friends would be disappointed. She dreaded the conversation that had to take place.

After graduation, Daria had her choice of offers with top Bay Area companies. She did her research and had settled on a premiere high tech firm's Management Trainee program. The money was good, the company was solid and well respected. Daria had met with her future co-workers and thought that she might be happy working with them. The best part of the offer was the opportunity to learn all different aspects of the corporation, before settling on a particular occupation within it.

Then there was the other option, the one that wasn't so well researched. Jane and Trent had asked her to be their tour manager. Daria did consider it. It might be fun for a while, the tour was scheduled for 7 months and would include dates in Europe and Asia. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. But Daria knew it wasn't for her.

The unorthodox career choice didn't bother her, although her parents were really proud of her new job, and would not approve of a career in the entertainment field. Daria didn't worry about what her parents thought of her choices. They were too far away to exert their influence, such as it was. There was the other "issue." Trent. Daria sighed as she examined her real objection. It hurt so much to think about Trent.

Trent represented the love that never-was. There were times when Daria thought that he might say something to her, might kiss her. But each time, as her heart pounded and the blood would rush to her head, roaring in her ears, nothing. She lived on small morsels for years. A peck on the cheek, a brotherly hug, comments that could mean something, or nothing. Once she made a list of these crumbs and kept it in the pages of her diary. It represented the foundation of her infatuation. She did it ruefully, to prove to herself that she had fabricated her feelings from a mere handful of random events. On nights when she was lonely, and she would go to the comforting fantasies of what might be, she would take out the list, to remind herself of how thin and tenuous it all was.

Just when Daria would have a space of time, when he wasn't in her thoughts, he would call. When she walked down the street, she had an eerie feeling that Trent could see her. He seemed to spring from the ether just as she thought about him, as though her remembrance brought him to life.

Intellectually, Daria knew that she and Trent were not meant to be together. But it was the other part of her that craved him. She let her intellect guide her into relationships with other men, but it was her heart that longed for him. It wasn't even Trent the man that Daria wanted, it was Trent the possibility. The man Trent was in her mind.

Daria knew that she had to free herself from this specter. She didn't have the strength to be with him, in close quarters. She was straw, and Trent was the match. Self-immolation was not a prospect that Daria enjoyed. All the evil thoughts went through her mind. "What if we did become involved, for a while. How could I stand to have him and lose him? How would it be to watch him with other women, a different one every night? Could I stand to die a little bit at a time like that? Would it make me free of him forever?"

Daria knew she couldn't go. She wouldn't risk it. She would keep this one secret love locked away forever. From this moment, she would deny herself the pleasure of speculation, the warmth of daydreams, the delicious heartache of unrequited love. In its place she would try to form true friendship, friendship based on love, not lust.

She could not accomplish this unless she could be away from him. She couldn't live in his world, hearing him, smelling him, feeling him, and not succumb to his physical power. She would be trapped. Better for her that she should take another path. In the end, they would find each other. She would have no regrets. Now that her course was plotted, she vowed to enjoy the journey.

Daria rolled over again and stared at the clock. It was almost dawn, light was seeping in through the windows. "No sleep for the wicked tonight," she thought. She was wicked. Wicked for being weak, for not declaring what was in her heart. "Well, I'm not the only one" she said to herself. " But she didn't sigh.