Going to the movies. A simple pleasure enjoyed by everyone. Who doesn’t love the smell of the hot buttered popcorn spilling into the giant, glass bins as you pass by, or the sound of squealing children anxious so see the next adventure of Harry Potter? However, hidden away in their dark and dismal homes and apartments, there are a select few, who have not had the delight of strolling up to the ticket window or relished in the excitement of scanning over the lighted billboard filled with this week’s brand new releases. It has been a long time since they have experienced the joy of choosing a movie with that favorite actor that suits their mood; be that Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep, or Bradley Cooper.
A dark theater is a place of escape, fantasy and whimsy, where for two hours one is transported to another place, day or time. Most people walk through the doorway, past the black satin curtains and head for the middle rows and the center seats…the best seats. But you are not “most” people. You are a tentative visitor, cautiously walking into the theater alone. You inch your way, slowly towards the first available seat…on the end. Your heart pounds as you near what has been a source of anxiety and intimidation for longer than you care to remember. You glance around to make sure no one is watching. They are not. Instead they sit ripping open their giant boxes of Goobers and Sno-Caps, shoving greasy hot popcorn into their mouths. They fiddle in their seats, checking their cellphones before the opening credits begin to roll. You pause looking at the red velvet seat and you can remember your last visit to this same theater almost 7 years ago. You squirm as you recall the embarrassment you suffered that night when you attempted to squeeze yourself into that empty seat. You shifted and struggled to the horrified look of your best friend who followed behind you as you fled, embarrassed, out of the auditorium.
Today, you are here for redemption…a revenge of sorts. You come alone…just in case, well just in case it happens again. You hover in front of the portentous seat, your heart pounding in your ears. You take a deep breath, close your eyes and sit. To your pleasant surprise you glide easily into the seat as you exhale madly. The tears well in your eyes as the big beautiful screen transforms into a kaleidoscope of Technicolor. You settle back into your chair and as the movie begins you smile, knowing inside that you will remember this movie for the rest of your life. The great adventure of the day was finding the courage to walk into the building…the movie…whatever it is, was just a bonus.