I noticed her the moment I walked into the not so crowded theater. I didn't notice her based on the fact that it was a not so crowded theater or because she was part of one of the only couples there. It had nothing to do with that.
I guess I noticed her, first, because of the person she was with. We were all sitting in this theater, me three rows behind and a few seats to the left. I was listening to her go on about how eager she was to be watching this movie, her favorite movie, with her person.
What I noticed was that she was talking but getting no response. It hurt me to see that, even though I didn't know her. I swear the worst thing you can do to someone is turn their excitement into disappointment. And I felt bad for this girl I noticed.
The second thing I recognized was that she didn't seem bothered by the fact that her person wasn't offering any kind of compensation for conversation. She was talking and rambling and explaining how much Casablanca meant to her as if she were used to not being paid attention to.
The third thing I noticed was that she was beautiful, and I already liked the way words came out of her mouth.
The movie started, but my attention was half on the film I'd seen countless times and didn't really care for while the other half rested upon this woman I'd never seen but already felt like caring for.
The lights came back on during the credits, but I stayed seated. They were sitting there as well. The girl hadn't started talking yet about the film, but I saw her wiping her tears while her person was already on her phone.
They stayed throughout the credits, and so did I. I wasn't waiting for her- I always stay until the credits are over. Something about finality.
The girl finally broke the silence looking over at her person saying, "I mean, can you name a line better than 'We'll always have Paris.'"
She looks over at her person waiting for a response. Staring and waiting, for nothing.
I take a deep breath and lean closer to her seat saying, "I'd say, probably, 'Frankly, My Dear, I don't give a damn.'"
She and her person look up at me. She smiles and shakes her head, "I'm assuming that's because you prefer Gone With The Wind over Casablanca."
"No," I reply, smiling at her. "I actually dislike Gone With The Wind more than I dislike Casablanca."
She's shaking her head while smiling, "Then how can you say that's a better line? 'We'll always have Paris' is probably the defining line of romance, and Rhett Butler's final line is probably the defining line of anything anti-romance."
She's quiet then but her smile widens, and so does mine.
"Okay, Lea let's go," says her person, finally speaking up.
They get up to leave but I stay seated and watch them as they walk out, Lea turning her head before exiting the theater throwing one last smile back at me. A smile so inviting, as if begging me to love her. A future telling smile.