muscles and millionaires.

"hello," he said.
"hello," she said.
"look," he said, "i know you don't know me very well or anything, but i was wondering if you'd like to go see a movie sometime."
"okay," she said. "when?"
"i don't know," he said. "are you free this weekend?"
"not really," she said. "how about sometime during the week instead?"
"that works," he said. "should i just call you or..."
"yeah, you have a pen?"
"yeah. hold on. okay, what is it?"
"cool. i'll give you a call."

he waited two days to call. he heard it was a rule in a movie once. they made plans to see something, and they would just meet there. since they arrived fifteen minutes to showtime, there wasn't much time to talk. he should've picked her up. he should said, how about dinner first. why didn't he think about these things beforehand? he bought the tickets. he insisted that he pay. it was his idea, after all. she looked good, as she always did, but of course, he didn't say anything. he said he had to use the bathroom. he really did have to go, and it was kind of an emergency. he tried not to take too long, as the length of his absence fully disclosed his private business. when he returned to his seat, he looked at her and she kind of smiled, but not really. it was more a look of empathy, of concern.

"so, thanks for coming."
"thanks for inviting me."
"do you want some popcorn or anything?"
"no, thanks. i think i'm good."
"how's work going?"
"it's going..."

the lights went down. the previews began, and they were loud. all car crashes and explosions and people getting their teeth knocked out. boom! bang! he looked at her, the blue light shining on her face, reflecting in her eyes, and he sunk in his seat. he looked at her, but she did not see him. boom! bang! he saw a muscular guy on screen. muscles and millionaires, he thought. all this money spent on all these flops, and people are starving to death. people are losing their homes. but go right ahead, hollywood. go dump another $48 million on 90 minutes of pure misery. was she thinking that? what was she thinking?

"what are you thinking?"
"nothing really."

the movie was okay. it was alright. he wouldn't watch it again.

"what'd you think?"
"it was okay. did you like it?"
"i thought it was okay."

they walked down the stairs in silence. when he was a kid, he used to feel like the character in the film he had just watched. he would win. he would defeat evil. he would get what he wanted, learn lessons, and make friends along the way. but now that he was older, the only thought he had leaving the theater was: what next?

"so, do you want to get dinner or anything?"
"why do you always say 'or anything?' why don't you just say, 'dinner?'"
"i don't know. just a habit, i guess."

she pulled her phone out from her purse. she read the screen and texted back.

"about dinner," she said. "maybe another time?"
"sure," he said, but he knew exactly what 'another time' meant.

he gave a her small wave, and walked in the opposite direction.

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