When Manyu and I go to a movie, we sit in the very last row. Manyu easily gets a stiff neck and wants, as much as possible, to be looking down at the screen. I don’t think she appreciates the sacrifice I am making for her.

In my late twenties and early thirties, when I was between marriages, one of my favorite evening pastimes was to go to the movies by myself. I went two or three times a week. I always went on weekdays, and I always sat in the very first row. I didn’t want anyone sitting close to me. Also I wanted to be so engulfed by the movie that my entire field of vision was the screen itself.

One time, however, the theater was crowded, and a young boy and his mom plopped down in the two seats next to me. I’m guessing that the kid was three or four years old, definitely younger than kindergarten age. If I had to have someone sit next to me, best it was a kid so small that he wouldn’t fight me for the armrest. 

I needed not worry about someone sitting next to me. The movie was Never Cry Wolf, and at the sound of the first wolf howl, the kid left his seat to sit in his mom’s lap. He talked during the movie, but even that did not bother me. All of his conversation was pertinent to the movie, as he wanted to know why the wolves were doing what they were doing or why Charles Martin Smith marked his territory with pee. I got to watch the movie through this kid’s eyes, and I enjoyed it.

My fondest memory of that movie was right at the end. The boy and his mom got up to leave, but I remained in my seat. The boy took a couple steps toward the center aisle, then returned to where I was sitting and said, “Mister, the show is over. It’s time to go.”

I said, “I know, but I like to read the words at the end.”

The boy looked at all of the other people leaving the theater, then looked back at me. My odd behavior was as confusing to him as the actions of the wolves in the movie. Still, he said, “OK, bye.” 

Steven Simpson