Great, great, I said, getting up too, and we smiled dumbly at each other.
She asked finally.
Oh, ah, yeah…
At this point you’d expect me to say something like I’ll call you, but in our college even the mighty telephone had undergone a change in status. There was only one phone per dorm hall or upperclassman bungalow and due to the close quarters (the entire college and all of its students were contained in one square mile), the peripatetic nature of students, and the unreliability of roommates as message takers, you didn’t call people much, you just inevitable ran into them. But since seeing Kathy had proved far from inevitable, it was clear we’d have to make unusually concrete arrangements. How about – I tell you what, why don’t you meet me on the steps in front of the movie for the 7:30 show on Friday?
Of course our college didn’t have anything as mundane as a commercial movie theater. Three films were shown on a rotating basis at early and late shows Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. The offering were painstakingly programmed by a committee of dedicated cinema geeks with a catholic love for the medium – we saw European art films, classic Hollywood screwball and melodrama, campy sixties exploitation – everything, in other words, except the contemporary schlock the rest of the country was seeing.
I’m not sure.
My friends and I went to the movies as if they were church, never looking at the program but just always showing up at the same day, place and time every week. Bergman, maybe. I said, a safe enough guess.
Hmmm She wrinkled her not inconsiderable nose. Subtitles.
Hey, come on, you know it’ll be good no matter what it is. But if you don’t want to…
No, it’s fine. I’d like to. Seven-thirty on the steps. I guess I’ll see you then. Don’t forget,
she said, as if five days was a long time in the future, and for the first time she seemed coy and uncertain. Well, bye, UBU.
See you. She turned and I watched as she walked away, setting her tray down on the conveyor belt and pushing the bar of the exit, a prickling apprehension rising through me, electric as the edge of a thunderstorm.