Today was her first movie date. A girl with no friends, single and a loner, took that step to go out by herself. Not everything went as per her plan. There were no post-movie cupcakes or chocolate-coffee. She even failed to buy or rather look for any musical instrument that she originally intended to buy after the movie ended. Still, she was happy because it was her first movie-morning. Her first first-day-first-show kind of thing. Today, at the age of 24 years, 11 months and 8 days, she experienced her first 3D movie, and at a Multiplex theatre at that. She was happy. It was her first time in a Multiplex theatre and she felt proud of herself.
She did lie to her parents about her motive because they would think it a waste of time and money, but she did it anyway. What was wrong in that? It was only a one time thing, plus it was not like she had a hidden boyfriend or a lover. She was doing this for her and only her, and it made her feel less guilty about lying – that she was meeting her supposed girlfriends when in fact, she was having a movie date with Tarzan and Jane.
Funny thing is, she was just ten minutes away from getting late for the show. She hurried off because she feared she might not get the ticket as they would be sold out by the time she reached the theatre, or would not be allowed entry because she was late. Wasn’t there some rule about being fifteen minutes early for the show? Contrary to her fear, everything went alright. When the lady at the counter asked for money, she had to empty her pockets on the booth. She silently cursed herself for being clumsy and not fast enough to hand over the cash. Thank God! There was no queue behind her! That would have been embarrassing. At the thought, she smiled and recalled that this was her day. With the recollection, came the loosening of the knots inside her. Carefully, she counted the change and took her own sweet time in doing so.
Finally! She had the ticket and felt an excitement bubble inside her. But this was her first time at the theatre and she did not know her way inside. So she went to the lady stationed at the security point and asked for directions. Funnily enough, she did not feel shy. It was as if the world had disappeared and she was the only thing standing there. There were few people waiting at the door, may be for their friends, but she did not notice them or pretended not to. She had her armour up. She was confident and not at all self-conscious. She felt like a regal queen, a lioness – and she was proud of it.
There were times when she got lost, but she did not hesitate to ask for directions. Hell! Unlike the times she rode the escalator stairs, this day she didn’t even notice them. It was as if she was in a dream, a dream where she took those monster-stairs daily. It all felt familiar, casual. Finally she was on the third floor and after going through security, she found herself moving towards the door that would lead her inside the theatre area. She read the PUSH sign on the door. As her arms rose to do exactly that, a whirlwind of emotions rose inside her – excitement, fear, confusion, self-consciousness, confidence – she experienced them all within the five seconds it took her to enter the hallway.
Once inside, she saw a couple, standing amidst the various stalls and immediately her confidence wavered. She felt like an outsider, a trespasser on a foreign land. She had no clue where to go next and her mouth tasted of the copper taste of fear – fear of being judged. So for a moment she just stood there, taking in the popcorn and other eatery stalls to her right and the two doors with the number 2 on them, written in ocean blue. Common sense said this must be the door to the theatre, after all her ticket did say ‘SCREEN-2’. But she was not so sure. “What if it’s a restroom or some other thing?” the silly part of her brain said.
Now, this was the part of her brain that played best-friends with her nervous and clumsy shy side. And whenever it made an appearance, which sadly was 99% of the time, she ended up making a fool of herself in front of everybody within a mile’s radius; colleagues, classmates, friends, not friends, teachers strangers – everyone had witnessed this side of her and it was safe to say she was labelled a ‘weirdo’ and a ‘fool’. And now that it was here, she was sure to do something embarrassing.
She looked around and found employees in their uniforms, stationed, she was sure, to help people like her. But these were all guys and she surely was not going to ask one! She then decided to check one of the doors and was just about to take a step in its direction when she saw another employee – girl this time, with a tray full of popcorn mugs – ready to enter the same gate. Eureka! She went forward and asked her if this was the correct screen. Grateful for her help, she then entered the theatre.
Though there was some problem in finding her seat, but after the first few minutes, she was sitting comfortably in her seat – in the last row towards the centre, just as she preferred. It was the perfect spot. She looked around and saw couples huddled in the corners and cringed. Thank God she had asked for the centre seat. She did not wish to witness any PDAs that might take place when the theatre would be shrouded in the dark. She prayed her neighbours to be girls or decent couples. Her wish was granted when after a few minutes, a couple occupied the seat to her right – the girl next to her and the guy to her third. And then another couple two places to her left. Yippee! The seat to her left was empty. She took in the theatre and found only the last row, her row, was occupied with a handful of people scattered her and there in front of her. It did not require a genius to conclude that it wasn’t not going to be a ‘jam-packed theatre’ scenario.
After the initial commercials, it was time for the movie to start. She put on the 3D glasses that were rented to the viewers but not before noticing the difference between the screen when the glasses were on and when they were not. This was her first 3D movie and she was curious to find out what the fuss was all about. And what she saw satisfied her. No, the movie could not be watched without the glasses because the scenes were a bit woozy. It definitely wasn’t like the red-blue-purple rays shooting across the screen, as her brother had explained but still, not a good viewing experience. But when she put those glasses on? God, she was awed! She had never seen anything like that in her twenty-four years of existence, twenty-five if you go for the round figure. It was nothing like her brother or father told her about. This was shit! A pretty shit.
As soon as she put those glasses on, she became a part of that world. Arrows zoomed past her; people stared at her through the doors. She was no longer in the theatre but was standing amongst the characters of the movie. She looked down at the river from atop a mountain peak and her acrophobia kicked in. She watched the barrel of gun pointed at her and flinched when it opened fire at her, only to realize that she was in a theatre, on her seat, with the 3D goggles on. It felt like she was watching a play where she could touch the characters if only she extended her hand. This was a miracle, an experience she was so glad to have lived. It was even better than her imagination.
She so wanted to share it with someone – her brother or a friend, but she had lied to them. She was not supposed to be in the theatre but with her girlfriends – shopping. So she silently watched her first 3D movie with a lingering smile on her face. Today, she was the hero, she was the villain and she was the heroine. She lived it all and treasured the memory in the recess of her mind and later, on the pages of her diary, birthing a nostalgic moment for the future.
Today marked the beginning and the end of her rebellious adventure and she was incredibly happy to have lived it. It was an adventure – her adventure, and she was not lonely anymore. In time, this would be a fond memory of the day she finally learnt to enjoy her company and the solitude it brought. It was something to remember by on days when loneliness suffocated her and she felt the need for an escape route. Her only regret? Alas! The pink 3D goggles had to be returned and she had only the movie-ticket as the souvenir for her first date – with herself.
Fiction. Written in response to Blogging U Writing 101 workshop. Assignment – ‘Recreate a single day’.