I am sorry.
You youthful, youthy, perfect, barely 16-year-old girls that shared a row of seats with me on a crowded, late night showing of Crazy, Stupid, Love at the budget cinema.
Oh, I'm sure you remember me from the 10 PM show.
Ryan Gosling? The gasp? It's all coming back now, isn't it?
I took myself to the discount showing of Crazy, Stupid, Love on Friday night. I'm sure this was a repeat viewing for you and that you saw it the first time around. I only catch movies when they're a year old. And yes, you heard right -- I took myself. This is an act of desperation you don't yet understand. Do you know what it takes to go see a movie alone late at night, you perfectly beautiful things? No, you're years from knowing. What it takes to decide to go see a movie alone, at 10 PM, is seeing a block of time; free, unscheduled, and you make for the door before anyone has the chance to ask if you know where their soccer uniform is.
To the girl with the pretty, pointed-toe, leopard-spot flats who had half my soda dumped on her feet, I'm sorry. I just didn't expect Ryan to whip off his shirt like that. Is that what they do now? On a date, I mean. I am sorry. I usually don't do things to get people's attention. I've never been the class clown, despite my lone Three Stooges act that night with you.
To the girl who got her entire bucket of popcorn dumped onto her lap while she sat whispering about Emma Stone, I am sorry. I hope you got all the popcorn picked out of your surreally shiny, waist-length black hair -- I just didn't know the arm rest we shared would go flying up that fast.
I am sorry to the girl who got hit in the head with the summer purse I carry even though it's now autumn. You were sitting so peacefully on the end. I couldn't see a thing when I first entered the theater. It takes a helluva lot longer for your eyes to adjust to the dark after a certain age. It has to do with slower muscle contractions -- I know this because when you get older, Google becomes your health care provider because you search out every new overnight growth or body change you wake up to. I just want to know what the hell is going on while I sleep, you know?
I realize all of you had to share a row with me on a crowded night and that meant you all had to smell the smell of fried Tilapia fillets. I am sorry. That was my hair. You see, I have three beautiful sons, and my boys love a Friday night fish fry made by mom. And so I make it for them. Because that's how exciting my life is now; I live to make fish. If you stay in college, this could be your dream life, too.
I am sorry to the girl that I kept giving answers to questions that I thought she was asking me, when she was actually just trying to talk to her friend on the phone. I should have known you weren't asking me if I'd do Ryan Gosling. Do me a solid, and keep that answer between us, would you?
To the girl I kept creeping out by telling her how cute she was, I am sorry. No, I'm not sorry. You really are. So cute. You don't know this yet, because all you see is your imagined physical shortcomings when you compare yourself to the girl sitting in the middle of the row. Who, by the way, is not even close to being half as adorable as you are -- and that look she's sporting is so sleazy.
I am sorry to the girl that had to keep moving her matchstick legs to the side for me, because I kept having to get up and down and up and down to go to the bathroom. It's obnoxious, I know. But after three children, your bladder... see... um... I'm sorry.
I am sorry to the girl whose water bottle I kept kicking over with my feet -- I was not trying to play a game of me kick, you pick up. My feet are slowly becoming flippers, getting bigger every year. I graduated from high school a size seven shoe, and I'm not used to these size eight-and-a-halfs yet.
For the 90 minutes that I sat next to you ethereally divine angels in the theater, I thought of how you must think of me: a walking billboard for "Don't get old! This could happen to you!" You see a middle aged woman, with hair that never did make it in for its appointment last week, dressed in a thrown-on, stretched out sweatshirt since she's not cool enough for a hoodie, and too tight brown yoga pants that she's been in since Wednesday because she's too busy for personal hygiene. No time for personal hygiene, you wonder? Well, it happens when you take care of other people. On my two-months-ago pedicured feet are green flip flops that don't even match my clothes, but they were the shoes closest to the door, so on my feet they went, 40 degrees out or not. And the reason I'm in a theater, alone, is because I really want to see this movie; and so, without time to call anyone else, I go.
This won't be us, I know that's the promise you make to yourselves. We'll never wear clothes that look like they're our husband's, or let our feet get all gnarly like that, or go to the movies ALONE. I practically read your minds.
The thing is this: you are all so beautiful. Being young is so naturally beautiful. And you're blind to that right now. But, one night with me and you're feeling like Emma Stone up there, aren't you? And that's all right, because then my work here is done. I live to serve now: just come watch me some Friday when it's fish night at our house. I wield a mean Tilapia.
I am sorry.
And you are welcome.
And my gosh, but that Ryan Gosling? Whew -- is that how they make 'em nowadays? Because if it is, I never would have stood a chance.