I really love going to the cinema, in fact it’s one of the few activities I actually prefer doing on my own. It’s an experience I can completely own for myself.

I love that my local cinema sells home-made cakes. I love that you can buy a cup of tea, and take it into the actual room they show the film. It feels like the most exciting thing, like settling down in front of the telly at home, but your telly has suddenly grown exponentially, and it’s now in a huge room that smells like popcorn and darkness.

I love going in the daytime, because it still feels like I’m skipping work, even when I’m not. On those rare occasions it’s just me in the cinema it feels like a private showing, and it feels special. When I go through the doors, and there’s no one else there my heart sometimes skips a beat because I know there’s a chance that this magical event might happen today.
I then stare at the door, willing people not to come in, until the room goes completely dark and the screen lights up.

When that light first bathes my face I can’t help but squint sometimes, but then I force my eyes open wide, because I don’t want to miss anything. I even like the adverts.
Years ago, I used to go to the cinema with my then girlfriend at the time, and we’d play this game when the adverts came on.
She’d look round to me, her face half flushed with light, and whisper “the next one is you”.
We’d both sit there waiting for the next advert, like softly shining fortune tellers, bathed in celluloid light, waiting for the runes to show themselves in the medium of the next advertisement.
She’d laugh if I got a car advert. We both knew they were the worst thing to be, artificial, shallow and filled with machismo.
Even now, when I go to the cinema on my own, I still play this game, whispering to myself “the next one is you”, hoping for something beautiful to reveal itself on the big screen.

I love the sound. I love how loud it is. I love how it makes my bones vibrate, my heart squeeze tight. I love how I sometimes find myself holding my breath as the glorious, enveloping noise covers me, like a crashing wave, overwhelming and yet fleeting, leaving me wishing for more.

You could get all this by going to the cinema with someone, and a shared thing can be something amazing, but there’s a bit of me that doesn’t want to share this with someone.
I want to feel my hairs stand up on my arms, my breath to become shallow and held, my eyes to feel like they can’t take everything in fast enough, my ears to become numb with the sound. I want this, and I want this to be for me alone.

You can ask me to go to the cinema, and I will love going with you, but once those lights go down, and the images flicker across the screen, there’s a good chance that although I’ll be in that seat next to you, I won’t actually be there. I’ll be hurtling through space, sailing the seas, leading the charge, saving the world, one lost moment at a time.