She is in a movie theater on Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles. It is a Thursday night in May, 2001. There are rows and rows of seats with an aisle running down the middle. The rows are separated exactly in half by the patterned carpet. The air conditioning is running, giving her a chill. She is excited. The room starts to fill up with moviegoers, and with that comes noise. Most have popcorn, M&Ms, soda, and nachos. Anticipation and loud speaking patrons make her antsy.
A few minutes later it is dark and the screen lights up. David Bowie’s Nature Boy is being sung by Toulouse-Lautrec, a slow and somber melody. A typewriter is being used while somebody is crying. It is 1899 in Paris. The buildings are stark brown, grey, and black, contrasting with the vividness of red and the midnight blue sky. This is unlike anything she has ever seen before.
As the movie progresses we learn of the love between Christian and Satine. They sing songs the audience knows, in a way that makes them grin, clap, and shout with joy. The audience goes wild every time a new one begins. The energy never wavers, the crowd is loving it. She is so happy, squeezing the man’s hand that she is there with. When a fairy comes on screen and offers our hero absinthe, the man laughs. She loves that laugh, knowing he is enjoying the film.
When the ending comes, tears are streaming down her face. She doesn’t bother to wipe them away, a reminder of all the emotions she has felt. She hasn’t just seen a movie, she has experienced it. 15 years later, it is still her favorite film.
When I was a kid I thought romance was having your high school crush come pick you up in a red Porsche 944 at your sister’s wedding with The Thompson Twins playing in the background. I wanted to be swept off my feet by a boy who made me feel breathless.
The man who gave me the above experience is my husband. He showed me that night what true romance is: Having somebody love and know you well enough to give you an experience that is pure happiness. Curtis has done that for me over and over again throughout our 17 years of dating and 10 years of marriage.
Happy Anniversary Baby. Thank you for all the romance, love, and friendship you give me every day. I love you.