A small building. Vertical sign. The Bookshelf.
The inside is cramped,
with shelves mashed so close together one has trouble reading the titles of the books
We walk up the stairs.
The movie theater is small, and inexpensive.
I stand for a minute examining posters, while my friend proceeds to purchase his ticket.
The clerk, obviously assuming we are lovers, charges him for mine as well, and we spend the next few minutes awkwardly perusing the merchandise in a manner which we hope will scream "heterosexual", and fail.
The popcorn and beverage come to less than the cost of the film.
The room is already darkened. We sit down and attempt to plan out our next visits according to the movie schedule when she walks in.
I had never so immediately noticed a stranger. She sits down, and begins to read a large hardcover novel. Seventeen, eighteen maybe, though she must be older judging by the university texts she keeps beside her.
My companion continues to talk as I squint to make out the book.
Franz Kafka. The Collected Works.
Her brown hair is tied back into two braids that descend past her shoulders over the back of her seat.
Little strands of hair, wisps, stick out from the braids.
A green canvas purse is draped around her neck. She rubs her shoulder, takes off her purse.
The movie begins. No one else comes to join her.
The subtitles pass in flashes. The story line is quickly lost.
I imagine her talking to me, her voice coalescing with the Japanese from the screen.
I scream her name, unknown as it is, in my mind. I scream it over and over until I hear nothing else.
Just for a second.
The movie completes it's run.
As the credits begin to appear, I leave my friend and quickly make my way outside.
It is autumn and the leaves blow all around me in the darkness as I rush to my car. She exits the building.
I turn on my car, and pull out of the parking lot.
Leaving the city I see a man being chased by two police officers. Within seconds the officers give up, and talk into their radio. The stranger is lost among the colours and hues of the street.
I curse them under my breath. They didn't even try to catch him.
I turn onto the highway and head West.