Archives for posts with tag: cinema

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.

When I look back on my first few dates, and their inevitable tumbles into disaster, I’m honestly amazed that I managed to actually sustain a relationship long enough to get married. Admittedly I then didn’t manage to  sustain the marriage  but that’s another story….

The very first date I went on kind of set the standard for most of the dates I’ve been on since. It was borderline disaster mixed up with a large bowlful of embarrassment and awkwardness. Yay me.

I’d finally, after about 4 months of procrastination, decided to ask this person out. I say ask, but what I actually mean to say is manipulate the situation so that I get what I want without having to actually say it. We’d been chatting about what films we wanted to go and see, and I suggested we go together to see The Karate Kid 2 ( I know, excellent choice of date movie, BOOM! and all that ). They responded with ” how do you feel about going on a date to see it?” which of course was the plan all along.  ( More BOOM! )

At this point in the story dear reader, you’ll be forgiven for thinking to yourself well this doesn’t sound so bad, she’s got the person she wanted to ask out to actually ask her out instead, it was smoothly done ( well for a 13 year old anyhow ) and things are looking good…….well, don’t worry normal service will resume shortly.

We meet at the cinema. I am excited. Fizzy pop ( cherry cola ) and sweets (Jelly Babies ) are smuggled in, and we sit down. We sit on the end of a row, cause I like to stretch my legs out ( I am abnormally tall for my age ). This means that every 30 seconds we have to stand up to let people into the row of  surprisingly popular seats. Not the best start.

The cinema goes dark, and the film starts. I sit there thinking about how I really want to see this film, but also want to make out. I realise the fatal flaw in going to the cinema for a date and choosing a film you actually want to see. I start weighing up the options available to me. I’m focused. I need to make a decision, and then….she touches my hand……and I jump and let out an awkward half squeal, sending Jelly Babies and Cherry Coke everywhere.

People look round and tut. I go red. Thankfully it’s dark so this doesn’t matter so much. I look round and my date is looking directly ahead at the film with a mortified expression on her face. I get the impression that I may of fucked up a little. We watch the rest of the film in silence, not touching, not looking at each other, as if we were sitting at opposite sides of the cinema, and then, to ice the metaphorical cake,  Peter Cetera’s “The glory of love” comes on. It is the theme song for the film. I die a little more.

We still saw each other after the date, but we never spoke to each other about The Karate Kid 2 and what happened on that unfortunate afternoon again…….

Freiya Benson

Writer & Photographer.

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