Tiles. Bathroom tiles. The sludgy brown gunk that builds up on the corners of bathroom tiles.
The crooked shelf. The bar of soap that looks about as clean as a 4 week old dead rat. The four week old dead rat in the corner, collecting dust and soap. The toilet; that awful altair of awful. All these things become the most important things in the world when you don't matter anymore.
Francesca looks at herself in the mirror among the filth. This is what it feels like to betray yourself, she thinks as she does a 128 point inspection on her face. Her dark green eyes, her cheeks, her ecru skin, her curly blondish hair, her pores, the curve of her nose. She inspects all these things thoroughly. None have changed. Staring back at her is the same girl that has always looked back from the mirror, she just doesn't recognize her now.
She stands in front of that grimy mirror for a very long time. Young girls and older women come and go and give her the occasional sidelong glance, but still she stays there, looking at herself until she's almost sure the movie previews have finished.
She moves to go back to the theater but the terrible feeling in her stomach returns stornger than ever. She vomits in the bathroom stall. Again. She wipes the sick away from her mouth and the tears from her eyes. She looks at the toilet paper surprised, as if she's not sure why the tears are coming now. Paying no attention to the disgusted looks of the other women in the bathroom, Francesca walks out of the door, taking precious care not to disturb the other filth.
Francesca finds her seat in the dark theater and sits silently, facing ahead. She sits, taking in everything. Her perception reception is incredibly acute within a 10 foot radius. She hears the man sitting behind her breathe heavily through his nose. She hears the constant fiddling of the man next to her and smells the cigarettes and whiskey and something she can't quite place coming from him. She can hear the cuddling laughing noises of a couple a few seats away. She can smell the popcorn and soda, as it is devoured by the man two seats in front. Oddly, the horror movie she's supposed to be watching is completely lost on her.
A hand prowling in the darkness finds its prey and locks its jaws with her fingers. Francesca's eyes go wild and her mouth opens to form an O, but she stops herself just short of saying anything, as if out of fear of him noticing that she's alive. Oh Jesus, oh Jesus, the voice in her head beats at the inside walls. She feels the sweat build up on her forehead and the sides of her nose. She feels her knees rub together, her feet bobbing up and down on the floor, her buttcheeks rubbing against the seat and looking for a comfortable spot. She feels her hand, interlocked with his, try to protect itself with an inch thick perspiration barrier. He smiles at her and she thanks God it's too dark to see what her face is actually doing.
God, please don't let this be the last time, Ben thinks to himself as he grips her hand in the dark. He is grateful for the sweat of her hands, as it aides to mask his own. He doesn't pause to think about the cause, of course. His mind is racing. Thoughts of misery and his impending fate fill his mind with the only thing worse than fear: inevitability. His mind is clouded and he cannot see that something is quite seriously wrong with his girlfriend.
The hours drag on as the two of them experience horror that no movie can ever hope to provide. Even as the movie ends and the people around them start to file out of the theater, they stay unmoving in their seats. By the time the first ushers come in to clean the theater, it finally dawns on them that there is something wrong with the other. They finally look each other in the eyes as the auditorium lights up.
They sit in silence for some minutes more. Finally, he takes a deep breath. She squeezes her eyes shut.
"I'm so sorry," they both begin.