Of all the ticket stubs I have pressed together in my wallet, the one from that night is in the worst shape. It's bent and torn and soft and the ink's fading. If you show that piece of cardstock to anyone, they wouldn't be able to tell you what date, time, or even what movie it was from. But I have no problem reciting it automatically. July 16, 6:20, You Me and Dupree. I'm still fascinated with that tiny rectangle of cardstock, still mesmerized by the first film I saw through a reflection. I'll always remember how different the actors looked through your glasses—smaller than they're supposed to be, and tinted green.
I liked you in those glasses. You had said on the phone that you got new glasses and that you hated them. When I felt something tap my shoulder while I was in American Eagle, I turned around and the first thing I noticed was the glasses. I wanted to tell you how good you looked in them, but I couldn't. So instead we walked to the movie theatre and bought our tickets. I let you pick the film; I didn't care what we saw. I had no intention of paying close attention to whatever it was, anyway—I paid the eight dollar admission fee so I could sit next to you for two and a half hours.
Someone once told me that best friends often fight more than enemies do. I guess that's true—we argued over the armrest the whole time the trailers rolled. Someone else once told me that a best friend is someone you spend all your time with. That night was the first time I'd seen you in a month. So where does that leave us? The armrest argument was settled once the movie began. We did what best friends are expected to do; we shared it. With your arm up against mine like that I could feel every time you laughed at the movie's stupid jokes. It made me not mind the jokes so much.
When the movie was over, we stopped leaning on each other and walked outside to wait for our rides. I leaned against a support beam and you leaned against a wall. Your arm was more comfortable. We stood there for a minute, not really talking. "I like the glasses," I finally said. I'd wanted to say it for almost three hours.
"Yeah, I think they're growing on me," you said, adjusting them unconsciously.
When your dad pulled up, I said goodbye to you, not knowing when I'd get to see you next. As your car pulled away, I missed you already. I missed sitting next to you. I missed not having to talk any louder than a whisper for you to hear me. I missed your voice singing along with the soundtrack. I missed the uncomfortable seats, the bad jokes in the film, the stale popcorn on the floor. I missed the way Owen Wilson and Kate Hudson looked through your glasses.
I pull that ticked stub out of my wallet so often that it no longer feels like cardstock should. The ink is almost completely faded from the way I run my fingers over it. Sometimes if I hold the ticket and close my eyes, it almost feels like we're back in the dark, watching the movie. Sometimes I need that memory to be more than a memory; sometimes I need something tangible.
I wonder if you still have yours.