Marcus’s dirty grubby fingers better not touch that popcorn. We were at the movies watching The Internship, Marcus was on my left and Anthony was on my right. I honestly don’t even understand how I got into this with the boy I have despised since the 8th grade and the boy I have been in love with since the 3rd grade sandwiching me in the these small red chairs.
Marcus’s hands grabbed most of the popcorn, overflowing, and dropping onto the sticky movie theater floor and onto my lap. “You want some?” he asked with his overflowing mouth spitting chunks onto my face, “no” I said “just, no”.
Seriously, wow. I glanced back at the movie for just a second, and turned to look at Anthony “are you going to say something to him?” I waited for a reply but there is none, but eventually he gave a slight indication of a nod.
Anthony reached into his pocket and pulled out a twenty dollar bill, reached over and handed it to Marcus. I assumed he told him to buy his own food, a few minutes later he came back out with licorice, milk duds, a large popcorn. I tried to concentrate on the movie but his very being was annoying, the way he was smacking on his popcorn with his open mouth, the way his milk duds would occasionally roll onto the ground and sound like rain all the way down with their thick chocolate layers, rolling to the front seats where people would look back with irritated looks every five minutes and all I wanted to do was stand up and say “trust me, I know”.
Once I finally managed to get back into the movie I saw some sort of light out of the corner of my eye, and of course who else would it would be but the all-famous Marcus with that stupid smirk on his face looking down at his phone, not even trying to cover the light beaming up from his lap, ignorant. Probably texting some girl.
I wondered why Anthony invited him on our date anyway. This is a date right? I mean it had to be, I mean it was weird that Anthony only brought money for his own ticket and Marcus paid for mine, but, it’s a date.I hope.
I was desperate to get some alone time with Anthony I would do anything, so what could I do? I could ask Anthony to come with me to get some nachos, or something else but no it has to be something romantic,maybe I could say I needed to go to the bathroom and asked if he would go with me and when I come out and he’s sitting there waiting for me I could leap into his arms and apologize for making him miss five minutes of the movie for me. As the lights to the projector flickered on the screen an overwhelming feeling of anxiety came over me, I needed to make my move but I knew the movie would be over soon.
“Hey Anthony, I need to go to the bathroom would you mind coming with me?” I tried batting my eyelashes a little bit but it probably looked like I had something in my eye.
“Um, sure, I mean yeah I guess I can go” he said this with a sound of dread but I thought I could maybe see the slightest hint of excitement in the way he got up from his chair following me out of the theatre, with a little bit of a leap in his step. I ignored the annoying snort that came out of Marcus’s nose when he realized his two dates were leaving him to be alone, but I think I saw him give Anthony a punch of encouragement on the arm with a slight upward jerk of his head while we crawled over his legs to get passed him, well this just got awkward.
When I walked into the bathroom it was extremely small with black and white tiled floors, red marble counters and blue squares trailing all over the walls. I tried going into the stall closest to the door but it was occupied so I went to the one next to it, I’m not sure why I sat down since I didn’t even have to go it was just a part of my master plan to leap into Anthony’s arms afterward. It was kind of scary how far into character I was getting for this, but as soon as I sat down a huge explosion of a fart came from the stall next to me.
Oh my God.
All I wanted to do was scream “Anthony that wasn’t me I promise” but I didn’t because I didn’t want to embarrass the real culprit who was next to me probably feeling the burn of whatever they ate last night coming back for revenge.
Boy! What did I think could be romantic about this?
I found myself stuck between a fart and a hard place, I decided maybe he hadn’t heard it, maybe he wasn’t even waiting for me anymore, so I sucked up my pride and trudged on out the door towards the epitome of my embarrassment.
“That wasn’t me, I promise” I said with a sheepish look on my face. Anthony looked at me questioningly with the most beautiful smirk painted on his face, but I realized I’d already missed my opportunity to do any leaping into anybody’s arms tonight.
“Jen, what are you talking about exactly?” Anthony said. I was flooded with relief, absolute relief that he miraculously hadn’t heard that stomach churning eruption from minutes before, but before I could find the words to explain what I was talking about Marcus came walking out of the theatre – or should I say charging – and for once I was actually happy to see his stupid face just at the right time.
“Dude, I thought you guys ditched me, but then I thought long and hard about it and I figured it’d be more likely that you got kidnapped so I thought I’d come look for you but to my surprise I find you both here socializing the night away while I’m in there starving to the bone.”
“I got it!” said Marcus with a look of “A-ha!” covering his face, “Mexican food! Let’s go get some bean burritos smothered in cheese and salsa with rice on the side!”
I didn’t realize how hungry I was until I imagined a big steaming plate of brown rice and melted cheese covering layers of soft tortillas enveloping refried black beans with the scorching red salsa covering the top of it with its thick chunks of red and green peppers.
“I’m in!” I said almost too eagerly, but then Anthony objected.
“No, I don’t think that’s a good idea… maybe something a little lighter on the stomach, like a sandwich or salad, we don’t want our bodies working too hard to try and digest all that greasy food” He looked at me nervously when he said this through the corner of his eye.
When he said this everything made sense, my face flushed white and then was replaced with the rush of my blood up to my eyeballs. He heard! Oh my gosh, HE HEARD! How could I be so gullible to believe him, of course he was just pretending so he wouldn’t embarrass me but look, LOOK ANTHONY I’M EMBARRASSED NOW!
I busted out into explanation “That wasn’t me in the bathroom making all those noises I promise! I didn’t even have to go to the bathroom I just wanted to see if you’d actually wait for me to see if this was a real date or not, my plan was to leap into your arms when I came out but then that lady in there farted really loud and I swore you had heard it so I took even longer to come out because I was sure you wouldn’t want to touch me after that but then you told me you didn’t hear it so I believed you, but now you’re might as well be announcing it to the world that ‘JEN HAS DIARRHEA’ but It wasn’t me I promise I don’t know how to make you believe me!”
It seemed as though I said this all in one breathe.
Blank stares cascaded between us, back and forth from me to Marcus, Marcus to Anthony, Anthony to me. Marcus nearly fell to the floor with laughter, I wished he’d choke on it and pass out and forget everything I just said.
“Jen, umm, how do I say this?” Anthony said “I’m lactose Intolerant, I can’t eat Mexican food because of all the cheese, and I really don’t know what you’re talking about.”
I slapped my hand to my forehead.
Kill me now.
Words by Victoria Sandoval
Images by Hailey Owens