In the Back Row

The movie theater was hot, or was it just him? The hero on the screen was a chisel-chested dandy, not one of those Humphrey Bogarts of old, thought Mark and then he turned to the problem at hand. Should he put an arm around her?

Let us see, it was the second date. The first one was an expensive Chinese restaurant. You do not count the burger and fries, no, you do not. So this was the second date. There was no goodbye kiss after the first one, just an aborted handshake and an awkward wave, and then a shameful walk to the car, and then the burning ears, and then angry masturbation before going to bed. Mark should leave that one out of all retellings of how they met.

Does age factor in? He was thirty, she was twenty-something. He knew she had only had two serious boyfriends before, so she was between innocent and experienced. None of that helped him decide.

She was a warm girl, with warm feelings, the kind of girl you could kiss on the forehead. However, they never actually made physical contact. Is that important?

Was the movie romatic? Not really. It was kind of intellectual, at least compared to a superhero flick or something. Definitely deep, but should it evoke the reflex of care which would warrant an arm around her? All the time travel, or whatever it was, was just confusing, she did not need the comfort of his arm.

Damn it, just do it man. Be brave for once in your life. Just hug her, let her know you want to be close. Come on, let’s do it!

Yeah, nice try. He almost succeeded, if by almost you mean dreamed about succeeding. Why should she want his weak arm around her anyway? He felt grossly inadequate.

And then he did it. Like the heroes of Sparta. Like those madmen who stormed the whatever to defeat whoever. He felt her relax and that made him relax too.

But only for a minute because a new problem was coming. What happens when they up and leave? Is there a kiss somewhere down the line?

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