That Was Terrible

“Well, that was terrible,” he says, leaning back in his seat, as the screen fades to black, leaving the theater in darkness.

“Absolutely,” she agrees, shaking her head. “What were they thinking, releasing another rom com with that same, tired formula.”

“Same old tropes, same old plot twists, no effort to be fresh or imaginative. The entire story was so utterly predictable. Boy meets girl, boy fights with girl, boy makes up with girl. Happily ever after.”

She laughs. “Perfect summary. I couldn’t have said it better. And how about those characters? Unbelievably shallow, with the pettiest hang-ups. I mean, one disagreement over some trivial thing and they’re ready to throw away their entire relationship. And then that stupid final scene, where they kiss and make up in the rain? Come on, who even does that?”

“I totally agree,” he says, standing up and stretching. “But maybe the worst part was the casting. Their choice of lead actor was abysmal. The guy couldn’t act his way out of a paper bag, much less carry the whole movie.”

She’s silent for a minute, pausing in the act of gathering up her things. “You know, I have to disagree,” she says at last. “I thought he did a great job.”

“Are you kidding me?” he asks, looking at her incredulously. “He fubbed his cues and mumbled his lines the whole time, always putting on this bumbling nice-guy caricature that was ridiculously forced.”

“I thought he came across as sweet and bashful,” she says. “It made him endearing.”

“Endearing? He had all the personality of an egg.” He pauses, as if deciding whether to not to go on. “And he looked like a mule with a feathered haircut.”

“He did not! He was very good looking.”

“Seriously, I kept waiting for him to start braying or something.”

She gives him a stony glare as they step into the aisle. “I suppose you didn’t have a problem with that twiggy bit of fluff they had playing opposite him.”

“Well, at least there was something good to see in that movie. So, yeah, she was pretty hot. Certainly not the worst actress, either.”

“If you’re going for complete bimbo. I don’t know where she learned to act, but she was always trying to smile, no matter what tone the scene called for. It made her seem like an airhead without any clue what was going on.”

“I happen to think she had a very nice smile, and it made her character seem positive, like she was always trying to see the best in every situation.”

“The best way to ruin every scene,” she says, pushing open the doors of the theater and walking out into the cool evening air. “Every time she was on camera, I just wanted to groan and cover my eyes.”

Now it’s his turn to go quiet for a minute, his jaw working like he’s chewing on something he can’t swallow. “Well, you were the one who wanted to see the stupid movie. I only let you drag me to it ‘cause you were so insistent. Next time I’ll know better.”

“Oh, next time you will, huh?” There’s some real heat in her voice now. “Kinda getting ahead of yourself, aren’t you? Thinking there’ll be a next time? That I’ll ever go to show with you again?”

“Hey, I guess maybe there won’t,” he shoots back. “I sure won’t ask you again, if that’s what you’re wondering. You can just stay home in your sweats and binge watch TV while horking ice cream.”

“I do not hork ice cream! And you’re the one who never wants to go anywhere! Forgive me for trying to get you to go out every once in a while.”

They glare at each other for a minute, the air around them seeming to grow colder. A few drops of rain fall, speckling the sidewalk with dark splotches.

“Whatever,” he says, breaking eye contact and turning away. “Come on, I’m parked over here.”

She continues to glare at his back. “You know what? I think I’ll just catch a cab home.”

“We were gonna get drinks,” he says, but they way he says it implies that’s the last thing he wants to do right now.

“I’m tired, and I have a busy day tomorrow.”

“Right. Me, too.” He stands there, shifting his weight from foot to foot.

She looks down at the pavement, frowning. They both seem to be waiting for something, for one of them to speak, to say certain words.

“Well, good-bye,” she says at last. Without another word, she spins on her heel and walks away.

He stands there, hands in his pockets, staring after her. The rain picks up, a gentle patter falling all around him. He looks the other way, toward his parked car, then back at her retreating form. She’s almost hidden in the gloom and rain. He blows out a sigh, makes a halfhearted move toward his car.

Then he whirls back around and starts after her. His feet pound on the pavement, splash through the rapidly forming puddles that reflect the light of the streetlamps and storefronts. He catches up to her in seconds; as slowly as she was walking, she might have wanted him to.

“Hey, I’m sorry,” he says, reaching out as if to grab her arm, but thinking better of it, he lets his hand fall. “That was really stupid of me. I shouldn’t have said those things.”

She slows further, but her shoulders are still hunched, in a way that has nothing to do with the rain.

“I was being an idiot,” he continues. “You were right: she’s a terrible actress, and he didn’t really do that bad a job. It was just a dumb movie, anyway. It’s not worth fighting over.”

Finally, she stops, then turns toward him in a rush. “No, it was my fault. I just got so defensive. I didn’t mean it. I’m sorry.” She practically throws herself into his arms, wrapping him in a tight embrace.”

“Oh, it’s all right,” he says, pressing his cheek against hers. “It’s all right.”

She pulls back, just enough to meet his gaze, rainwater trickling down their faces.

Then they come together, closer than before, and their lips meet in a tender kiss.

The screen fades to black. The man sitting in the front row shakes his head, munching on the last of his popcorn. “Well, that was terrible.”

Culled from blog.reedsy.com by Ian Gonzales

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