From across the movie hall was a tiny tea place with a stained samovar, lot of steam and open basket of snacks. As we drank from the cups there i eyed the slowly growing line at the hall entrance. With time i have perfected the entry time to these films. Not too early and look stupid, and not too late to miss any chance of watching the movie. Athena gave me a mild nudge with her elbows. Sign that i was silent for too long. Her friends were talking about the politics of abortion. I won't be forced to give an opinion that i don't have.
After finishing the cups we slowly walked to the hall. The white stairs that lead up were stained from years of abuse and poor maintenance. But the hall was in great condition. Every time i saw the entrance to the hall i remembered the puppet lions that danced on these screens, a scene from the first foreign film i saw here. This was Athena's first trip to this place. But she lead the way with a sense of familiarity.
As we pushed the door into the hall the large screen greeted us with a friendly authority. I felt its impatient gaze till we found a nice row to settle down. Soon it was dark around us with beams of light drawing pictures on the screen. Sounds broke into the air at rare intervals. I was engrossed in the movie that i forgot about Athena and her friends for some time. As the movie progressed the light beams painted more darkness on the screen. A piercing scream of agony with dark blood on the screen brought me back to my seat. I searched for Athena's hand to comfort her. I couldn't find it. Her seat was empty and so was the next. I was sitting in a row of empty chairs. My heart raced to a higher speed. I saw a human form near the exit. I ran behind it.I was out in the deserted street which ran downhill towards a bunch of well lit houses. The girl who ran ahead of me has stopped now in the middle of the road. I was in two minds about approaching her when she turned around and beckoned me. I could see her face now. I asked her about Athena. She had no clue. She said she was lost and that she forgot the way to her place. She asked if i could help her find it. The movie reels were still rolling in my mind. I slowly walked back to the hall leaving her on the road. My shadow was almost invisible as i walked towards my seat. And i barely made a sound as i settled down. The light beams were still at work.
- From a dream.