My boyfriend works in television but his real passion is film. We’re at a movie premier gala event. We’re on the guest list for his company and we walk into the theater holding hands. Cut in line. It’s crowded because it’s a movie that a lot of people spent a lot of money on, not just Nick’s company. Celebrities too. The movie won awards and Nick’s company is really proud to have been involved with the project (shoot me in the face). We walk up to the counter and get the tickets in an envelope labeled “Nick Plus One (Billy).” At the door, it’s too crowded to move. There are no seats left in the whole theater. This place wasn’t made for this kind of crowd, it’s too old.
Nick wants to marry rich but if he works hard, he’ll be very rich soon. Someday they’ll allow gay marriage. He could marry himself, maybe.
“I sometimes used to sleep with this older guy, a commercial producer. He’s straight and he’s married: has a wife and kids but I don’t feel bad about it at all. I know he would help me out, if I needed it. Like a job or whatever. He was really sweet to me. We got wasted, Billy. We would get so fucked up, then we would just have sex.”
He told me this while we were in bed together, whispered it into the back of my new haircut. He asked, “Isn’t that horrible?”
The lights go down and a woman comes out through the curtains and everyone applauds. She’s not a celebrity but everyone knows she is the Gala Organizer.
“Last spring, we saved this theater!” The woman says. “They were going to tear it down, but the community saved it.” The Global Cinema Brooklyn Community of Generous Patrons and Producers saved this old building so that we could show Sundance Oscar movies here tonight. And isn’t it fabulous to be here? On this spring night in this wonderful old theater, seeing a great, important movie with our generous speaker and sponsors? Isn’t it fabulous to be here? And aren’t we fabulous we?
Robert Redford waits in the wings to talk about his first trip to New York City. Coming to this very theater as a kid. He was only 24 years old, he says, a kid. Nick and I are both 23, but we don’t feel like kids.
As Robert Redford is telling his story, I lean over to Nick and whisper, “I feel like I’m tagging along with you. Don’t we make each other happy?”
I say it because I want to say the meanest thing I can think of. Sometimes when we wait for the subway together, I feel myself getting mean. I’m taller than Nick is: I look down on him. I sneer. Standing in the back of an old converted movie theater, I remind him whose company got us the tickets and whose producer friend bought him those shoes and I think that we don’t make each other happy: I’m not happy. Isn’t that horrible?
“Yes. In fact, you’re so horrible that I cannot believe it. You’re nasty and you’re mean and you really are just so awful. You’re so horrible I can’t believe that I’ve been inside of you,” I think.
Robert Redford is talking about architecture and film: this is how you make a movie theater and this is how you make a movie to show in it. You do it in pieces. He finishes his speech and people are still filing into the theater to stand in the crowd in the back. An old fat man pushes in between Nick and I and looks at us and says, “Hello.” Like he knows us, or wants to. He looks like he could have a wife, kids. He could be a producer. A lot of men in the movie theater look like they might be producers.
Don’t we make each other happy? I’m not so sure. I say it like it’s nothing. Nick gets upset. “Why would you say something like that?” he asks, and I apologize. “It’s kind of not something you can just apologize about, okay? Why would you do that, Billy? Ruin the night?” I say, can we go outside for a second and talk, even though Robert Redford is glad that this kind of movie is still/finally being made and your company helped and you invited me? Let’s sit on the steps of the resurrected movie theater and I’ll show you how mean you make me want to be: this is how you try to tear down a movie theater and this is how you try to tear down a person. In pieces. Don’t we make each other happy, I am not so sure can we go outside for a second, I feel like I’m just tagging along here.
Outside on the steps, there are two girls in tuxedos arranging glasses of wine on silver platters. Nick says he hopes there’s an open bar, not just wine cause he wants to get wasted, Billy.
I ask: “What about when you get old, and all of your hair falls out?”
He says: “Then, I’ll start dating younger guys. As soon as I stop being the hot one, I will only fuck hot guys.”
“But,” he says, “I’ll never stop being hot.”
Some day, he’ll be an older producer and he’ll be married and have kids. Then he can be really sweet to younger guys. He can fuck his old self and imagine how the future feels. He can get himself wasted and fuck himself, then.
The photo above (Parkway Plaza) is what happens to horses when San Diego is on fire.