My excuse is that I've been married over half my life since the age of 22. I've been used to doing just about everything as a couple, with very little time as a single woman. But if you want to know the truth, it's been fear that's kept me from doing a lot of things by myself. Like going to the movies.
I realize it might seem small and you were probably expecting something much bigger, but I have never gone to a movie by myself ever. I mean ever. Until last night. I do have a partner, and we have chosen to live independently in our own homes. It really works for us. So yesterday he called to say he just wanted downtime at his house. I was shopping happily near great restaurants and a movie theater. After hanging up, I checked out the movies playing and didn't buy a ticket right away. I walked around, fidgeted a lot, and read movie reviews on my phone. I decided I was hungry and headed to an Italian restaurant that used to be a favorite. I don't think I'd been there since my husband, who passed away, coached little league and the whole team would meet there for pizza. Wow, that was about fifteen years ago.
Sitting there looking at all the photos on the walls and smelling the pesto and garlic, I really got how easy it is to live in the past, to recount all the times, the events, the people and yes, how it is no more. Rather than crying into my iced tea, I made a choice. While the chef cooked my linguini and toasted the garlic bread, I got up and made my way next door to the theater. No one was in line so I asked the woman about the films, and she said she really liked "Venom," a Marvel Comics release. I'd read the reviews of all the movies and had thought I'd see something more innocent and less likely to cause nightmares, like "The Nutcracker." But the reviews were so awful, that I bought a ticket to see "Venom," and headed back for my pasta.
The meal and the movie are really unimportant to this story. What is important is that I loved savoring the linguini by myself, taking my time in silence and truly tasting each bite. I also liked being at a film alone, able to react to the screen in my own way in my own time. I must admit that I had a few pangs of "Oh no," when first sitting down next to a couple snuggling and holding hands. Instead of feeling jealous or sad, I just smiled and felt happy for them. (And happy for my space)!
"Venom" wasn't the best or worst film I've ever seen. It was entertaining and witty and I liked the rumpled, bungling main character. Actually, what I like best about the experience is that I went to a movie by myself for the first time and feel happy, like I'm smiling inside me. Yes, it is about time, since I'm in the last half of my life, not quite the last quarter, but almost. It's all part of feeling good about myself, living alone for five years, and feeling more at home in my own skin. Finally.