Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

The Night Out

It was going to be our last Valentine’s Day “date night” as a married couple.  We were going to attend a special film screening.   Sophia’s former boss was unable to make it, so he gave the tickets to us.   The tickets would be waiting at the box-office in his name.

When we arrived at the arts center complex, the parking lot was jammed.  We followed the crowd into the main auditorium building, and waited on the line.  We approached the will-call window at the box office. The hipster attendant was wearing a fedora.

“I’m picking up two tickets.  The name should be for Roger Green,” said Sophia.

The attendent rifled through his tickets.

“I don’t see any tickets for Roger Green,” he said.

“It must be there,” said Sophia. “He left it at the box office under his name. Roger Green.”

The attendent clicked on the keyboard, the computer screen reflecting in his eyes.

“I don’t see any tickets for Roger Green.”

The other patrons on the line were getting antsy.

“Maybe he put it in your name,” I said.

Sophia gave me a glance that meant, “let me handle this.”

The attendant’s manager appeared.  She was an older woman in a business suit.

“Is there a problem?” she asked.

“There are supposed to be two tickets here left by Roger Green,” Sophia repeated.

“Maybe we should call Roger…” I started to say, until Sophia gave me the look again, and I stepped back.

The manager double-checked her list.

“I don’t see any tickets for Roger Green.”

Sophia took out her iPhone.

“OK, I’ll call Roger. But he’s not going to be happy to be bothered.  He’s a big donor to the arts center.”

The manager and the fedora-wearing attendant exchanged nervous looks.

“Listen, I’m sure it is just a computer glitch,” said the manager. “Take these two tickets and enjoy the show.”

She handed us two tickets, the best seats in the house.

Sophia and I entered the auditorium.  We really did have the best seats in the house.  But something seemed odd.  Instead of a movie screen, the stage was set up with furniture, decorated like a suburban living room. I glanced at the pamphlet that we were given by the usher.

We were in the wrong building of the arts center complex, and about to see a play.  The film screening was next door.

“What should we do?” I asked.

“We can’t leave now.” replied Sophia.  “It’s too embarrassing.”

And the play was really good.

And so, this was the last Valentine’s Day of our marriage.  It was much like our own marriage, an experience filled with laughter and confusion, of walking into the wrong theater, and making it work until the show was over.

22 Comments

  1. What a marvelous story… it makes me want to cry and hug someone at the same time.

  2. Isn’t this the toughest part of marriage? Negotiating the little things. Trusting your sig other to “handle” stuff, and being happy with the handling, however it turns out?

    Even when in love, two strong personalities clash over the details. The subtle dance of who’s-in-charge is awkward, when both parties want to lead.

  3. I say this is a good Valentine’s Day for any year. (I value good-story status over smooth sailing any day.)

  4. Beautifully written, Neil. And good on you both for spending it together. My soon-to-be-ex hasn’t celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, his birthday, Valentine’s or any of our previous 3 anniversaries with me – and for much of it, my son. You’re good people.

  5. I like this one. I just really do. Great storytelling.

  6. This is the best short story I’ve read in a very long time. Maybe you can find it a home in a print publication, Neil. It deserves to be seen by so many others.

    What a punchy ending…to go out with a BANG instead of a whimper….

  7. This would be a great screenplay for an episode of “Seinfeld”. Except you would be Seinfeld. Not Kramer.

  8. Very poignant. If it really happened, incredible. If it didn’t, even better.

  9. Sweet. And good on the theater manager for doing the right thing.

  10. This resonated with me and I recalled a similar ‘wrong theater incident at the end of my marriage. Your uncluttered writing and the bleak situation, I enjoyed it very much. Thank you Mr Kramer!

  11. Wow, Sophia. She’s gutsy. I want to be like that someday.

    It sounds like a bittersweet Valentine’s Day.

  12. I loved this, too. It made for a great story.

    I’m glad it was a good play.

  13. Perfect. Just. Perfect. (As a story. On a personal note, sorry for the dose of sad that goes along with the show being over.)

  14. Great story. I’m glad it worked out so well, and made for such a memorable last Valentine’s Day.

  15. What an apt metaphor. You are correct.

  16. *Sigh*

    Moments like this–epiphanies. Big truths wrapped in ordinary moments. That’s the basis of the best writing and blog posts.

  17. This is so beautiful, Neil!

  18. Wonderfully told. This is the kind of post that reminds me why I keep coming back to read.

  19. This is perfect. Yep.

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