The Movie Theater Bruise Infliction

Even when Ramona was in a couple, she hated couples. And it wasn’t because the person she had been with sucked her dry of the best years of her life and then left her to rot as a loner for the rest of her existence on earth thanks to his breakup timing finding her freshly turning forty and shriveled. It was because couples were all so self-righteous, thought they were so fucking superior. But something in their collective insistence about how great it was to tie themselves to another person’s every movement made Ramona think they were all touting coupledom’s fabulousness a little too much. This, she gathered, must be why they all went so out of their way to engage in overly bombastic displays of affection. Like those who felt inclined to make out in a movie theater post-high school. Honestly, not only does it reveal a total lack of respect for the cinema, but indicates that perhaps neither person is well-established enough to have their own living space, one that allows them to make out freely there instead.

And maybe it was expressly because Ramona despised couples so much that she always found herself surrounded by them. It wasn’t just at movie theaters either. These private shows she tended to get also occurred on planes and in line at grocery stores (she was too poor for such isolating entities as FreshDirect or UberEats or AmazonFresh or whatever the fuck overpriced outpost providing standard-grade contaminated food there was now).

Being of the belief that a person ought to be able to go out into the world without constantly becoming overwhelmed with disgust, living in New York was starting to feel like a waking nightmare. Maybe at one time, it was a “mecca for singles”—or so Carrie Bradshaw would have you believe—but that might have been nothing more than a vestigial myth of its heyday. Now, everywhere Ramona turned, it was impossible not to feel like she wasn’t the only animal in this fucked up Noah’s Ark without a match. The movie theater, a place that had so long been her only sanctuary, was all of the sudden infiltrated with this pervasive dyadic taint.

The past few films she had seen, Beatriz at Dinner, All Eyez on Me and, currently, The Beguiled, had found her seating choice constantly right behind a passionate pair in spite of the fact that she had staked her claim in the aisle first, foolishly thinking that her aura of ardorlessness would act as a natural repellent against “lovers.” But no, in direct contrast, her cold, lifeless body only attracted them all the more to her quadrant.

This time around, however, she wasn’t going to endure it—to have her filmgoing experience decimated by so-called passion. Thus, after seeing and hearing the adjoined doublet in front of her for what felt like the length of Gone With the Wind, Ramona decided she had reached that point in her New York career when it was time to care about other people’s opinions as little as everyone else did.

Accordingly, she rose in such an abrupt manner so as to cause the seat bottom to ricochet back and forth with a boisterous brusqueness that nonetheless did not manage to interrupt the couple’s “session.” She harrumphed for added effect as she rushed away to an aisle further behind them, the smacking and licking foley artistry too much to withstand for an almost full two hours.

In her haste, she slammed her upper thigh into the hard metal part of the new seat, prompting her to yelp like a hurt dog in the instinctual aftermath. It was at this moment that the couple she had run from finally decided to remove their seemingly fused heads from one another long enough to turn around and stare at her just as the lights fully dimmed after the barrage of previews.

So all it takes is my calescent physical pain to make a couple notice me? And as she clutched to her evermore palpitating and swelling bruise, she became conscious that this was the thing about being in a couple: it only spoke to a physical response rather than an emotional one. As it was confirmed when the yoked duo resumed their 50s-style necking without giving Ramona another thought. For single is the new invisible.

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