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A Day of Valentines

Tuesday February 16, 2010

It was Valentine’s Day. You took your date to a movie–only it wasn’t the Valentine’s Day epic you had imagined, and what happened in the seat in front of you only reinforced that.

The marquee had read “Amour” hadn’t it?  Here in the darkness of the theater settled beside Jenny from Accounting, he was starting to wonder.  A  foreign film had sounded like such a good idea this morning, just the thing for a Valentine’s Day date.  The dreaded Valentine’s Day of the single man.  The stakes always felt high to Tim, but the day of roses and chocolate could turn even the most reasonable girl into a tapping foot of expectation.

The screen was filled with the jarring confusion of French-speaking voices and a blank space at the bottom of the screen where the subtitles should have been.  What was wrong with this place?  They were in Chicago after all, not Paris.  For the first several  moments Jenny had looked amused, but now there was only irritation and a note of concern in her profile.  High school French was buried far below the mountains of nonsense he had learned in college, so making sense of this movie was hopeless.  He did remember amour though.  It meant love, didn’t it?

As he looked around hoping to find a confused kinship in the faces of his fellow theater goers, the pieces crashed into place.  He was the only guy in sight.  It was so dark when they made their way through the aisles that he hadn’t noticed.  The other word in the title was “Femme”.  French for woman.  He had brought Jenny from Accounting to a French lesbian movie without subtitles.  As the action unfolded on the screen he understood that this film had never needed subtitles.  It wasn’t that kind of movie.

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