Mark and Sally sat close in an almost empty movie theater. This was their first official date. Sally slurped on the red slushie that Mark had bought for her in the lobby. Neither of them knew what flavor “red,” was, but it looked delicious. He didn’t have much money, but what money he did have would be spent showering her with gifts like popcorn, candy and diamonds. Mark had envisioned his first date with Sally to be one that she would never forget, a truly remarkable experience. He imagined that her knees would go weak as she described the incredible time she had had with him to her close circle of friends. So far, the date was short of remarkable and far from incredible.
From the back of theater, a projector spat out the colorful underwater adventure of two animated fish. The plot was simple: a fish was kidnapped from his home in a coral reef and his father set out to rescue him with the aid of a very blue, very forgetful fish. He looked over at Sally, the glow of the screen exposing her face within the dark theater. She was smiling. A small light radiated from her mouth, a reflection of the illuminated screen, her braces glowing. How cute, he thought. Mark never could have imagined loving a girl with braces but he admired the fact that she had committed to correcting her collection of crooked teeth, housed within her mouth, seldom shown to others, hidden behind her lips. She was gorgeous. Mark wanted Sally to become attached to him. Attached in a way that was almost impossible to separate, similar to the gum that he had stepped in trying to find the best seat. If she was attached, they could be together forever.
Mark spent most of the movie looking over at Sally. She seemed to be enjoying herself, which eased his nerves. He had formulated a plan to inch his hand closer and closer to hers, in the hopes of holding it within his. At the beginning of the movie, his hand sat in his lap, alone and sweaty. Now forty-five minutes in, his hand was almost upon hers. He had to make his move. With all of the bravery held within his body he raised his now soaking wet hand slightly and attacked hers in the gentlest way possible. Their handles connected, fingers interlocking, Sally turned. Their eyes met. She smiled. His thick, molasses like, fear of rejection evaporated into the air above them. Mark breathed out a sigh of relief and smiled back. Atta boy, Mark, he thought to himself.
At the conclusion of the movie, the pair stood up, Sally releasing Mark’s hand. They headed for the back of the theater in silence. The lack of sound irked Mark, he wondered if she was put off by his perspiring palm. He felt like a failure. He imagined she would have confessed her love for him by now, but she hadn’t. She didn’t say anything.
Passing through the exit of the Cineplex, Mark looked over at Sally. The wind had blown hair in her face and she was picking it from her mouth, spitting out small strands of hair and slobber. He smiled, she was truly something special. He had never seen a girl look so beautiful all the time. Even when she was expelling spittle from her metallic mouth, she still exuded beauty. Sally parted her hair and tucked it behind her ears, her face immerging into the light showering down from the lamp post above. Their eyes met. Sally giggled, her gaze pushed to the floor, her eyes unable to withstand the full force of the gravity of the situation. Mark’s face turned as red as the slushee he had bought for his date at the concession stand.
“So, do you want to be my girlfriend?” Mark asked.
“Yes,” Sally answered. A smile stretched across her face, pinching her cheeks. The brackets from her braces glistened, wet with saliva.
He had done it, he had a girlfriend.
Two cars pulled up to the curb in from of them. Sally gracefully boarded the first car and Mark piled into the second. What a night.
Unfortunately, Mark and Sally broke up after homeroom the next day. Sixth grade relationships don’t last that long.