This post comes from a weekly memoir writing prompt provided by The Red Dress Club.
This week’s memoir writing prompt by The Red Dress Club, asked us to fill in the blanks:
The first time I ______________-ed after ____________________-ing.
Every Saturday night after my mother died, my husband and I took my dad to the movies. I think it started with my father singing the tune, “Saturday Night Is the Loneliest Night of the Week.” How do you leave him alone after that? Though it was our treat, my father always insisted on buying me the popcorn, just like he did when I was little. And, just like when I was little, he’d grab my hand if the movie was a scary one.
It didn’t matter what was playing at the theater. It could be a nail-biter or a snoozer, but Saturday night at the movies became sacred for the three of us. If we visited our sons at the University of Texas in Austin, then we’d see a matinee so we could get back to San Antonio at a decent hour. My husband would pay for popcorn and soda for the boys, but my dad bought mine, as usual.
One afternoon at the movies was memorable in how awful the movie was. Our sons had suggested we all go and see “Magnolia,” a film that got rave reviews from the critics (not always a good sign). The language and subject matter were awful, including drugs, suicide, graphic sex (if I remember correctly, because my eyes were closed part of the time), and, to make matters worse, it was one of the longest movies I’ve ever sat through. When we finally emerged into the twilight after three hours of torture, my youngest son said, “You know the only thing worse than watching that film with your mother next to you is having your grandfather sitting on the other side.” My father cracked up.
When my father died, I couldn’t bring myself to go to the movies anymore. How could I sit in the theater without my father beside me? Both my husband and I missed our Saturday nights with him, and Saturday nights indeed became one of the loneliest nights of the week. Then, after a few months, my husband said, “Let’s go to the movies tonight. Dad wouldn’t want us to give that up.” Reluctantly, I went with him, bringing a wad of tissues with me. As the lights dimmed and the opening credits started, I looked to my left where my father always sat. The tears came, but it felt right being there. And then my sweetheart passed me a bag of popcorn and said, “I’ll buy you popcorn from now on.”