Note For Americans: In the UK we don't say 'sneakers' we say 'trainers'.
It was my birthday, and I was meant to go for a meal with the family. But The Apartment was screening in London, and my family didn't want to go see The Apartment in London. Maybe they did, but I didn't. I mean, I didn't want to go with them. It's not that I didn't love them it's just that I didn't want to go and see The Apartment with them so I rearranged my birthday for another night. I didn't rearrange my whole birthday, just the part where the family sits in a restaurant and eats together. To change my whole birthday would take a lot of forms and I'd probably need a lawyer. At the very least, I'd need a brand new birth certificate, which is much harder to find as you get older.
So I moved my family back a day, or forward a day, I can't remember which -- and I decided for my birthday to go and see The Apartment. I didn't want to go alone, I wanted to go with Henrietta. Just because her name was beautiful and she was too. For that reason, I knew she wouldn't come. But I asked her, anyway, because there's nothing better than being rejected on your birthday. I decided to play it cool and ask in a really smooth way, not in the way I normally would - you know, in which I get all weird about my love for black and white movies, thinking girls will think I'm a nerd with no life. So I said to her, "I don't want you to think I'm a nerd with no life or anything, and I don't want you to think I like you, or anything, but I'm wondering, do you want to come and see an old movie with me tonight? Um, you don't have to, but you can do, if-- like, I don't know. Um, so- yeah. An old movie. Me and you. On my birthday."
She looked at me like I was a nerd with no life. I expected a verbal response but she just held the look.
"Do you think I'm a nerd with no life?" I asked her. She said, "You want to go and see an old movie on your birthday?"
And I said "Yes."
And she said, "okay."
And I said "Okay, you think I'm a nerd?"
And she said "I think you're a nerd and I will come and see the movie."
And I said "That's great, but can we stop putting 'And I said' at the beginning because it's getting repetitive now?"
And she said, "It's not us that's doing that, it's a blogger a few years from now."
And I said, "Let's go see the movie."
So we went to see the movie. But not straight away, because I asked her three days before the screening was due to start and I doubt they'd have just played it when we got there.
I should explain to you that 'The Apartment' is my second favourite film. In fact, it's possibly my first, depending on my mood. In this mood, it's my second favourite, in my other mood, it's my favourite. That's the best I can explain it. The crazy thing is that I'd never seen it on the big screen before. I was desperate to! It's my second favourite, sometimes first favourite film-- so I had to see it on the big screen.
It suddenly dawned on me that life was awesome. I was about to have a birthday, and I was about the see The Apartment on the big screen and this beautiful, wonderful girl, Henrietta, was coming with me, despite her thinking I was a nerd with no life.
The day finally arrived and with a burst of energy I jumped out of bed. It was still about twelve hours until the screening so immediately after the burst of energy and jump out of bed I simply made a cup of tea and switched on the TV. Eventually, the evening came-- my second favourite film, FINALLY, on the big screen - with a girl who I liked more than I had liked anyone in weeks. Perfection.
It was time to meet - I don't remember what time it was but I remember Henrietta getting things slightly wrong and being slightly late. Anyways, we jumped on a train a bit like how I jumped out of bed earlier except we didn't make a cup of tea and switch on the TV after. We were on our way to the cinema to see THE APARTMENT on the BIG SCREEN. What could be better than that?
I was feeling pretty confident by that point. I remember thinking, "Hey, maybe beautiful girls do like old movies."
And she said, "Are you talking to me?"
I decided to play it cool, to be like one of those super confident guys who knows exactly what to say to women.
I said, "Um, so like - do---do you think I'm a bit of a nerd with no life for going to see an old film on my birthday?"
She said, "I think you're a nerd for going to see an old movie but it make no difference if you go on your birthday."
I thought she was being playful and enjoying my self-deprecating, self-hating nature.
So we got to London. I suddenly realised that time was flying by. I looked at my watch, obviously. I mean, how else would I have realised time was flying by. The film was due to start in fifteen minutes time and it was at least a ten minute walk, eleven with the shoes she was wearing. But I had comfy trainers so I set us the task of making it in nine.
"I just want to buy some shoes," she said.
"What?" I said.
"White things. Leather. Laces."
"I want to go see the film." I responded.
"But I want to get some trainers quickly, there's a Fred Perry shop over there."
"But I want to see the film."
"I'll be quick." She said.
I tried my best to say No, we MUST see this film, but she was really pretty and there was no way she'd listen to anything I had to say. So I said.. actually, I didn't say anything, I just had this sunken look. So she went to buy her shoes and I went to sulk next a guy who was playing Cat Stevens songs on his guitar. Well, I assume it was his guitar. It's not the sort of thing you bring up in the middle of 'Sad Lisa.'
Henrietta reappeared like seven minutes later and I was livid. Well, not really livid, because I was young and she was pretty, so I couldn't really show my disdain. So instead, she said, "you okay?" and I just nodded and felt sunken.
So we ran to the cinema. Well that was the plan but she wasn't wearing her new trainers because she didn't want to get them dirty, so I kind of walked with reasonably fast-pacing whilst she scuttled along in her shoes that added an extra two minutes to our journey.
Finally, WE ARRIVED! But the film had started twelve minutes ago. Henrietta said something about how the trailers would be showing now. I said there wouldn't be trailers because it's an old film and she said maybe we should go see something else. I stood there feeling sunken whilst she stood there feeling happy that she'd bought new shoes. We walked up to the box office just to check if the film had, luckily, not started.
We did, luckily, get to the box office when there was no line or anything. But then, unluckily, we were informed that yes, the film had started. Fourteen minutes of my second favourite movie had gone by.
"Let's go in." said Henrietta. I looked at her, and she looked a little different. Not quite as beautiful as she did before.
We went back to Covent Garden. We drank some tea. We chatted, we laughed, the night was not all lost. But I couldn't help but feel a little sunken. It was my birthday, and I never got to see The Apartment.
Come back tomorrow to find many more 'One Night At The Movies Long Ago' stories from some of the best writers on the internet. If you are a blogger and want to write on this same theme, please email me your blog address and details -- and I'll feature your story tomorrow.