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Impromptu Movie Night
Tomorrow is Saturday, but I will need to wake up early in the morning. Karmen and her mom are picking me up at nine to head out to H2Oasis for Karmen’s?eighteenth birthday party. The feat of going to bed relatively early shouldn’t be difficult, since I’m home alone. Dad is out bear hunting in the middle of nowhere and my sister is at a friend’s house. Even if I had the whole day tomorrow to sleep in, I would go to bed out of boredom. I first need to write out a birthday card for my friend. I sit down at the desk in the study, pasting construction paper onto a piece of folded cardstock, searching my tired mind for a witty phrase to put inside. My phone receives a text, mid conversation about me going to H2Oasis. Karmen had told me I could invite someone else since not many people were going.
“Then wanna go bikini shopping now?” Allen asks. He believes I need one. He hates my current swimsuit. Apparently, young women like myself are not meant to wear halter tops and shorts as swimwear. Swim trunks, he calls them. Swim Trunks has become my new name, actually, when I’m not Uncle Mel, Twitchy, or Kreeper.
“Now, when everything is closed?” It’s ten o’ clock.
“Wal-Mart is open.”
“Wal-Mart has no bikinis. Karmen went yesterday and said so.” I smile, knowing that I’m not lying as I say this. I’m not so certain about leaving the house with a guy at ten o’ clock with my dad out of town.
“Fine, well, wanna hang out at your place or mine?” Sneaking out to Wal-Mart suddenly sounds less deviant.
“No, Wal-Mart sounds good.”
“Do you not want me in your house?” Ugh. That’s not what I said. He has been to my house a few times before.
“It’s just that Wal-Mart could be fun.”
“What’s at Wal-Mart?!”
“Pocky.” It is, really, and I’m craving some.
He isn’t impressed by my answer and he calls when he’s on his way over. The plan mutates into renting a movie and coming back to my house to watch it.
I pace, trying to remember if Anna was really staying the night at Olive’s or if she would appear suddenly at eleven, if Olive needed her jacket bad enough to come back to get it. It hangs on the back of a dining room chair. Yeah, Anna has come back home late before and she’s just down the street. It would be so easy for her to just come home. What if she forgot her tooth brush or iPod or just comes back here? Would I be able to bribe her into not telling Dad? Would she tell him anyway? Would he ever know? I wonder if my dad will call on the satellite phone.
“Clover, I think this may possibly be the worst decision of my life.” If I tell the dog, I’m not talking to myself. I trust Allen, a friend I have had for two years, but it is not in my nature to have friends over when my dad isn’t here, a specific rule I have never broken, and now I am, with an older guy. Allen is two years older than I am. Well, almost two years. He will be twenty eighteen days after I turn eighteen.
Allen holds the door open for me at Movie Gallery.
“Thank you,” I remember to say so that he can hear me. I know his biggest pet peeve is when people don’t say thank you when you hold open a door for them. He looks at me, not quite believing my sincerity, knowing I worry he doesn’t hear me say “Thank you”. Inside, I try to recall which movies I wanted to see, but I must keep in mind the interest of someone else and how terrible certain movies would be to watch with Allen. No, 500 Days of Summer would just be a bad idea. He doesn’t like Saw. I must admit that I kind of like those movies, but they say the way to get close to a person is to watch a scary movie with them and as soon as I think about that, I immediately go to the comedies. I laugh, spotting Juno, how perfectly awkward. I point out Planet 51 and Monsters VS. Aliens. Why not? I can’t imagine anything weird about watching them.
“Really?” Not even an option for him.
I grab Ponyo and explain that a friend liked it. Still, not a chance.
“Fine. I don’t care. You find something. You don’t like any of my suggestions.”
“All four of them?” He has a point, “Just pick a movie. I don’t want to be here forever.”
We meander and Allen picks up Whiteout. It’s a horror movie about snow. I do not want to spend two hours staring at a white screen listening to people scream. It looks stupid. There’s nothing scary or suspenseful about those films. 30 Days of Night was just annoying.
“If you want it, get it.” I don’t care. I really don’t care.
“Go get Ponyo,” he orders.
“No, let’s get Whiteout,” I say. I would rather sit through a movie that I’m not interested in than watch a movie I enjoy with someone pouting about it.
“No, you don’t want to watch it so we’re getting Ponyo.” I can’t argue with him.
“Let’s flip a coin.”
“Psh, who carries coins anymore?” He has a point. He picks up one of the insert movie place cards and looks at both sides.
“Heads,” he gestures to the side with a movie cover, “Whiteout. Tails,” he flips it over to the black, “Ponyo.” The word pains him. I predict to myself it will land with the black side up since the other side has an insert which makes it heavier, but, of course, I do not disclose this information. He drops the place card and it falls black side up. The cashier says it’s a great choice and I smile, feeling I have achieved something.
I suggest watching it in Japanese, since we both know some of the language, but he doesn’t want to see it in the first place and it’s late, so he adamantly says no.
Clover barks when we walk into the house through the garage. I take it as an omen, remembering this was all one bad idea, but Clover likes Allen. Everybody likes Allen. My dad likes him and trusts him well enough. My mom adores him. He’s been over to her house a few time and I tease her, saying she likes him a bit too much. I recall one instance where he asked if he needed to move and she told him, “No, Allen, you’re perfect.” Then she comments on his guitar skills constantly and invites him places more often than I do. It’s a little weird, but I find it too funny to be disturbed by it.
Allen assumes the prime seat of the couch, the end with the best view of the TV, so I take the other end of the couch, so that I may also have a foot rest. He comments on my distance. I explain the heated seat and recliner and lie back, one cushion separating us as the movie begins. Clover, being a Labrador takes the opportunity to drop her ball next to him on the couch. He won’t throw it, so she climbs up over him.
“Down, Clover,” I sternly tell her.
“You jealous?” Allen says, scratching the dog’s ears. I shake my head.
I watch the movie, remembering the strangeness of the Japanese. If I had seen any Hayao Miyazaki’s films as child, I probably would have been scarred. I look over at Allen, lying on his side, facing away.
“Are you falling asleep?”
“So, you invited yourself over to my house, then fall asleep on the couch?”
“Would you like me to leave?”
“No.” I remember how Olive followed Anna and I home today, then stole her laptop. I told Anna she had some rather rude friends, finding the situation amusing. Olive stormed out because Anna didn’t want to go for a bike ride or maybe Olive didn’t want to go, something like that. Anyway, the irony is that I apparently also have a problem with friends like that, too, that just invite themselves over. Clover runs around the couch for Allen’s attention. He babbles to her, letting her jump up.
“Oh Chloe, *you* like me, don’t you?” Clover is practically on the couch, “*She* wants to sit with me.” Oh, please. He doesn’t even know her name. I scoot closer to the middle cushion to control the dog, shoving her away. I steal a bit of the blanket as well.
“Jack! I mean, Clover, bring the ball over here,” Allen calls he. She just pants, wags her tail, and drops the ball next to me, I toss it and eventually, she just keeps to herself, lying on the floor, eating it.
“Hey, it’s a red headed Asian,” I point out Ponyo. I know that’s the kind of girl Allen likes, the redheads and the Asians. With Ponyo, you get the best of two worlds.
“Oh, yeah, I noticed that,” he replies. We tease about it, me pointing out the girl is five.
“Was that a pot leaf?” I exclaim. In one part of the movie, Sosuke sets a leaf over the bucket in which he keeps Ponyo.
“I--- Wait, one, two, three, four, five six, seven, eight. Yeah, it is, one huge marijuana leaf.” Allen laughs.
“That makes so much sense,” I say. It explains a lot about Japanese entertainment. I am further surprised when it shows Sosuke’s mother scream at her husband over the phone, down a bottle of beer, then pass out on her bed. Wow. This is children’s movie?
The movie continues and I set my feet up over Allen’s legs. It’s rather awkward since I’m still sitting on the middle cushion, seemingly leaning away from Allen, but it’s not because of him. It’s my twitch. I don’t want to be lying right next to someone with my tic acting up, even if the person calls it “cute”. By now, I have twitched three times during the movie and I feel bad about it, a distraction.
“Oh, come here,” Allen tells me as he moves over so I can share his seat and blanket. I think about how the movie began with me so far away and wonder how I ended up here, his arm around me and my head against his chest. I glance away from the movie for a moment at his fingers, dancing and skipping along my hand and arm and I wonder if he’s consciously doing that, what he’s thinking about. I’m still, but I worry about twitching. I relax after a few minutes. It’s pleasant, this moment, and I find it funny, since I was so mean to him when we first met. I would have never seen this moment coming. I don’t know what it was, but I couldn’t trust him and once, I told him to leave me alone and neither of us have forgotten. It’s something we laugh about now, but if I regret anything in life, it’s that moment I told him he was being a creep.
Ponyo magically makes a little boat big enough for her and Sosuke to go rescue his mother. It’s strange because it’s not quite large enough for the two of them, Ponyo sitting on the roof. I wonder why she didn’t just make it a little larger so they could both fit comfortably, but maybe that was the point, to be close.
“She only likes him for his ham,” I note out loud. The fish girl, Ponyo, obviously doesn’t give a crap about Sosuke. She just wants him for his ham sandwich, playing him for a fool. Sure, she wants to be a human and stuff, but she doesn’t really like him. She doesn’t talk to him at all during the movie and nothing excites her more than food. They try to make it look like a little lovable relationship, but in reality, they’re kids. Girls only like guys at that age because they can take food from them. I recall that the moment I stopped thinking Allen was some creepy guy was when he began bringing cupcakes to class.
The movie ends and Allen walks over to the keyboard and plays a few classical songs. I sit, watching.
“Do you want me to leave?”
“I need to wake up before eight,” I admit, looking at the clock, the hands passing one am.
“I have work at ten,” he says, turning off the keyboard.
He stands up and walks toward the garage.
“It was nice,” I say, awkwardly following. The word “nice” is the single most boring adjective in the English language, but somehow it fits perfectly.
“Say goodbye here?” he asks.
“Yeah.” We hug, a brief bear hug, one with a pat on the back. I laugh, for it seems out of place, but I don’t know what I was expecting. I walk him out so I can lock the door behind him.
“It was nice,” I say again as he goes toward his car.
“You’re so distant,” Allen calls to me as he walks to his car.
“How so?” I call out.
“You just are.” I watch him get in the car, shaking my head at all of those comments about me being distant and complicated and mysterious. I ask what he means by them and he always responds, “You figure it out.”
I go to bed, remembering H2Oasis in the morning. I wonder if this is a day I will forget or always think about and I wonder if it meant anything at all.