I’ve seen you guys ask why you should bother shipping Aspen and America. Like he isn’t even a valid option for her or something. I mean, I get what you’re saying. Maxon’s cute and sweet and they have an unexpected chemistry, so it’s easy to forget about Aspen sometimes.
But here’s the thing.
Aspen is the first boy that gave America that butterflies in your stomach feeling. For two long years she spent the worst and hardest parts of her day reminding herself that the bad stuff didn’t matter because someone loved her. For a girl who grew up thinking she’d never do anything more that sing songs at parties— than be background noise— Aspen was the only future she ever hoped for. He would be her family; he would give her a family. If you’re at all aware of how much she loves her own, can you imagine the way she felt about starting one with a boy who sacrifices so much of himself for the people in his life?
And Aspen is prepared to sacrifice to have America. He already has. Aspen gives up everything he can for his family, but America always trumps them. She even trumps himself. The pennies in her jar all added up could be food for his younger brothers, clothes for his younger sisters, a chance to leave the light on a little longer in the night. The time devoted to seeing her in secret are lost hours of work, but he hands them over gladly at the chance to see her, hold her, kiss her. Him asking her to put her name in the Selection was a stupid idea born of wanting her to have the best. He’s very proud and intensely aware of just how much she’ll lose the day she takes his name. But, in essence, he already treats her the way he expects a man to treat his wife. For better or for worse, forsaking all others.
It’s unfortunate that you can’t see what I can. Because I’ve seen Aspen look around his family’s apartment, already bursting at the seams, and worry that America will be disappointed the day she’s forced to move in there. I witnessed him sitting up late into the night, watching reruns of The Report and specials about the Selected because he missed her voice. You don’t know how shocked he was that she wasn’t eliminated immediately, how worried he was that Maxon was falling for her already. You didn’t see his face the day the draft came through and he resigned himself to his fate, repeating in his head that it was better that she left since he was probably going to die anyway.
So, no, you don’t have to ship them. But that doesn’t mean there’s no reason to. Don’t doubt for a second that Aspen loves her blindly, almost to a fault. And, while Maxon is moving into America’s heart, Aspen was there first.