It was 7:20 p.m. and pouring rain when I ducked out of the Internet cafe. I had spent the last three hours reading Billy Collins poetry and watching Stephen Colbert when the cafe began filling up with screaming children, and I had decided a good stretch and change of venue would be ideal.
The rain was thick and heavy but I had borrowed my neighbor’s umbrella and had wrapped my backpack around in front of me to shield the contents from the rain.
I love walking with an umbrella in the rain. My feet get wet and slightly slippery and it becomes a game to stay upright, the head is blissfully dry and the breeze of the rain dances through my hair. I’m surrounded by the cozy caress of liquid cloud. The temperature is ideal again. I get to wear my rain jacket.
I had spent ten minutes dancing around when I passed an XXI Cinema and a sign advertising the movie Solo. Movie tickets are cheap in Indonesia, 25,000 rupiah ($1.77) as compared to the normal $10 American tickets.
There was nowhere specific to be. Since I don’t have wifi in my little cave of wonders I don’t watch many movies, so I thought: let’s go watch it, yeah? My soul nodded like a little child getting an early Christmas present, secretive almost, just don’t tell your mother! like. There’s something delicious about spontaneously going to see a movie on a Wednesday night. Something magical about whispering just one ticket, please, to the bored ticket woman. Something spectacular about spending the time before the movie starts finding snacks to purchase and sneak in.
At 8:30 p.m. I snuggled in the cushy seats, one of seven ticket holders, dipping ritz crackers in a little jar of Skippy peanut butter and washing it down with orange juice.
I love adventure movies, and for the sake of those who haven’t seen Solo, I won’t spend time on my impression. All that matters is this: when you’ve been surrounded by battle scenes and intense music and your little soul is so deeply into it all, coming out of the theater at 10:45 p.m. alone, with only a few stray cinema employees milling about, is amazing.
The cinema is on the third floor of a mall, and even though the mall is locked from the outside and the lights are off, the front entrance of the mall is still the exit for the cinema.
The only sound was that of the rolling escalators and rain still falling on the roof. The building was lit solely by emergency lights, and the mirrors that lined the escalators pivoted the light in strange angles. I don’t know what had happened to the other six ticket holders, because I was alone on my descent to the exit.
The soundtrack music was rolling in the back of my mind as I gripped the railing of the escalator like I was the survivor of a massive apocalyptic wipeout. There was no one to watch me as I jumped lightly off the third-to-last step and assumed a crouch. I pulled my backpack around in front of me, to shield me, and edged alongside the wall, avoiding the patches of light from the mirrors and scanning the shadows.
It took me fifty times longer than necessary to reach the next set of escalators. I looked around. There was still no one watching me, no one observing the absurdness of this white girl jacked on orange juice wearing her backpack like a tourist. I jumped off the fifth-to-last step and attempted a sort of half-roll, but I banged my elbow pretty hard against the floor and didn’t tuck my head in enough.
The rain was letting up and the only sound filling the empty mall was the roll of the escalators.
I was on the first floor and could see the entrance. I kept my chin level and my spine straight, I made sure to walk aligned, calm, composed. But I was watching, right, completely aware.
I felt positively absurd and it was delicious.
The walk back home was just as enjoyable. The rain had drawn a blanket over the typical sounds, so the garbage trucks and occasional whizzing motorcycle sounded different than normal. Muffled and more individual.
My shoes clacked against the wet concrete and the light posts shown in the puddles. It was a mirrored sort of world. I was Sherlock Holmes investigating the streets of London. I was Draco Malfoy slinking through Diagon Alley late at night. It was brilliant.
It was the most fun I had had walking home from anywhere.
Peace and blessings,