The Movies Are Better Without You

Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by Tima Miroshnichenko

I usually love going to the movies. I geek
out about the cool sound effects and the
dizzying 3D flashes of motion and
all the ways I think a scene could have
been produced better. I get to forget
about all the work and responsibilities and
thoughts that bombard my mind with
constant stress: should I be embarrassed
that there’s a coffee stain on my belly button
and it’s already four PM I missed my lunch break
and ohgoshamIgoingtoendupjobless?

At the movies I don’t think about the possibility
of getting diabetes from shoving down mouthfuls
of junior mints and sugar-coated churros
because all that matters is the heroism of the
characters in front of me. I enter a world where
I cease to exist. A world where miracles and happy
endings are possible. Only when I jump up in
excitement and send my snacks sprawling across
the aisle am I shocked from my pleasant stupor.

You’ve ruined the movies for me. I never imagined
finding negativity in my favorite pastime, but
life has a way of tainting all that’s good. Movies
are the best thing ever and I would go every day
if tickets didn’t cost me hours slaving at Starbucks.
But, also, movies are the worst idea for a date so I think
I’m quite happy being alone for the rest of my life.

Here’s why I hate sitting next to you at the movies:
your long arm hogs the space on the armrest and
your fingers tap ceaselessly on your jean-clad knee and
I can’t focus on the screen in front of me. It’s all a blur
under my panicky thoughts. You turn movies from
an escape into Wonderland to a freefall into anxiety.

I never wanted to go to the movies with you anyway,
but a so-called best friend told me my life was pathetic
and you’d liked me for forever now—why not be brave
for once? I think there’s popcorn stuck between my teeth.