I took myself out for a little adventure today.
Bundled against the chill, pounding the pavement on fresh wet snow, I navigated to Front Street for a $5 movie at the Rainbow and a bite to eat.
I was battling the Mean Reds.
I have my own Tiffany’s. The Rooftop Patio at The Park Hyatt. I buy myself a Corona and sit on the patio. I eat fancy complimentary nut & olive combinations and look out over the city. See the city. The huge expanse of buildings and people and whatever is overwhelming me doesn’t seem so suffocating.
But I wasn’t looking for a drink or a seat in the wet snow. So I decided to go to a movie.
As I got to Front Street, my hunger was building as the coffee I’d chugged during my morning meeting had done wonders to keep my eyes open but little to ease my grumbling stomach.
I find myself at a French bistro, lured in by a sandwich board advertising Mussels & Frites. I was obviously the first customer of the day, so I was given a prime seat in the window, perfect for my joy of people watching and general nosiness.
My lunch arrived within minutes and it was just what the doctor ordered. The server had asked me where I was from earlier, and my response that I was from Newfoundland prompted him to tell the chef that he’d better make the Mussels extra delicious for his East Coast customer. And they were lovely.
I saw a man entering the restaurant. An older gentleman in a heavy black coat who slowly removed his gloves and hat before engaging the hostess. I’d figured that he was treating himself to lunch, too. Maybe he was also going to the movies. Maybe we were going to have a date. Maybe we’d start talking and he would become my surrogate Grandfather.
I had never met my Grandfathers.
He had actually come to the restaurant to make reservations.
“I’d like to take my wife here tonight for dinner. 7 pm.”
The Hostess asked his name, he replied, she wrote down his name and bid adieu.
It may seem like a simple event, but I was enchanted by him. The idea of going to the restaurant in person and organizing his evening. His treat. His date with his wife. Most people call or email or tweet. Maybe he works upstairs or lives next door and he was really just being convenient and not romantic at all. But something about him making reservations in person, and the announcement of taking his wife out to a French Bistro on a Tuesday night… It just took me right aback.
For a moment I fell in love with the old man in the black coat.
He slowly put back on his gloves and pulled on his hat. He went back out into the world, walking down the street in the wet snow.
Maybe he was going to buy his wife some flowers. Thats what I think he was going to do next.
I finished my lunch and paid my bill, and soon I too was thrust back out into the busy city streets.
I made my way to the Rainbow and was surprised at how many people were there. Not hoards of people, but a fine sampling of all walks of life. The doors were yet to open and we stood outside in anticipation. There were a few couples who made pleasantries. I think they must be $5 Tuesday regulars. There was a group that I assume were from a group home or a movie club. They got their tickets one by one, as the group leader ticked their names off the list. I got my ticket and followed the group down the stairs to the theatre. They were excited. I was excited too. The Mean Reds had transitioned to an Aimless Orange, and although I still felt a little lost, I felt like I’d found the perfect place to rest my bones.
I sat alone in the theatre for a long time. I guess my Grandfather wasn’t coming. I read the Metro and ate 3/4 of my popcorn before the previews rolled, which is what inevitably happens when I go to the movies.
I really love popcorn.
And I really loved the movie. Silver Linings Playbook. I thought it was a beautiful and perfect movie for an Aimless Orange day. It made me want to call my parents and tell them that I love them. It made me want to tell my sisters how proud I am of them. It made me want to hug a stranger and look everyone in the eye for one second longer than what is comfortable.
That is sometimes my favorite thing to do.
The usher came in to clean the room as I was leaving.
“Did you like the movie?” He asked.
“I did. I really, really did.” I replied.
I guess he’d sat and watched. I would like to think he did. Maybe we had been on a date and neither of us knew until that moment. I am glad we both had fun. I gathered my stuff and left.
It was time to go.
My walk to the subway was slow and calm. I was covered in calm. The snow had stopped and the air seemed warmer. The sky seemed so bright after a few hours in the dark and I’d realized I’d made it to Mellow Yellow.
My calm carried me through the packed subway station, onto the futuristic Yonge car, around the frantic mini mall and onto my empty streetcar.
A tall man came on the car. He was handsome and blonde. And listening to his earphones and wearing a casual jacket. A casual jacket on a cold, wet day. But he looked comfortable and warm. As he passed me, I caught his eye. And I held it for a second too long. With a start, I turned my head way. And then I couldn’t look back. He was behind me and I wanted to but I couldn’t. Even as I was waiting to get off, and I was right in front of him, I knew I couldn’t look at him because I would probably fall in love with him. Right then and there. I may have already fallen in love with him.
Maybe thats why people are so afraid to look someone straight in the eye.
I got off the car. When I glanced back, I saw that he had too. I became warm, too warm on the cold day that had become warm, warmer than that, and I ran across the street. When I glanced back, he was gone.
I wasn’t intending on falling in love so many times today.
What a strange beautiful day.