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     The day was as pleasant as any Bryan could remember; the sun was bright and warm while the air cool and calm. Pinicon Ridge was as much more than just a sledding hill as Sandy was more than hiking partner. “Remind me again why I wanted to work third shift?” he asked as they made their way back to the car after traversing the winding trail for three hours.

     Sandy smiled, squeezed his hand and said, “Because you were retreating from the world and wanted mindless simplicity. Now we are a two man team and we are going mano contra el mundo. That’s not grammatical but it’s you and me against the world, babe.”

     “Seems fair. Two of us seven billion of them. What do you think? Spot them one touchdown to make it fair?”

     “Don’t get cocky. Let’s just keep the score board neutral. This was lovely but now I’m hungry again. Lord! I’m starting to sound like you!”

     “Could be worse, you could start to look like me,” he said with a kiss as she unlocked the car doors.

     “Yeah, you’re right. I like how you look but I think I’ll stick to my more feminine side. I love you, Bryan. This has just been great.”

     Bryan opened Sandy’s car door and then walked over to the passenger side of the car. “Love you, too. Home, shower, dinner, movie?”

     “Yes. And then sleep. I know midnight is early for you but you need to get off that sleeping noon to eight rhythm and if you’re going to get up at six with me for class then we should go to bed once the movie’s done.”

     “Midnight. Now you want me to go to sleep one day and wake up the next morning? Is that done? Aren’t there laws against that sort of thing?”

     “I don’t think so,” she answered pulling out of the lot and retracing her drive on Horseshoe back to Highway 13. “Maybe if you’re a goth?”

      “Oh my goth! I have a lisp.”

    “Nice. I think you just insulted two subculture simultaneously.” Sandy took the highway south through Francisville and turned right on US 151. “Oh, hey!” She said as they made their way westward through the Rapida Cedro bedroom community, “That’s where that new theater is. The one I saw your librarian friend’s husband at. Giving Tree.”

     “Oh. Cool. Do they do many shows?”

     “Three already this year including, ‘The Miracle Worker.’ That’s playing now. I hear their Annie Sullivan is amazing.”

     “Maybe we can see a show there sometime. I’m really looking forward to ‘Gatsby’ on Saturday,” Bryan replied.

     Sandy wound her way from Francisville to Rapida Cedro along US 151 which changed names to First Avenue and then turned north on First Street after she crossed the Cedar River. She backed into her driveway but didn’t pull the car into the garage and they entered through the garage’s side door.

     “I was thinking Marble City for dinner,” Sandy said as they came in, greeted Ninja and headed upstairs with the cat in tow. “It’s practically on the way and they do a nice job. Sound good?”

     “Sure? Never been there.”

     “I think you’ll like it. They have some nice beer choices and a good menu selection. Open and spacious too. I wonder if it’s warm enough to eat outside. They have outdoor seating.”

     “Maybe? Sun’ll be going down around eight, won’t it? Could cool off fast.”

     “Yeah. We’ll see. I’m going to shower and change. We’ve got about twenty minutes before we should skedaddle.”

     “I should shower too,” Bryan answered. “May I join you?”

     “Twenty minutes? Shower, hair, makeup, dressed. You shower in the front bath I’ll shower in the master. And don’t stick your lower lip out too far. A crab might bite it off,” she said kissing him.

     The western sky was still bright even though the sun had set and they opted to sit inside. Bryan noticed how many eyes turned toward Sandy as she walked by in her black leather miniskirt and he smiled to himself. Once the host had seated them he leaned across the table to her and whispered, “You’re lucky you don’t get sued.”


    “I said you’re lucky no one files a lawsuit against you. You probably caused half a dozen cases of whiplash walking through there,” he answered with a wink.

     “You’re too kind. And thank you.”

     “No, I’m not. And thank you.”

     When their server brought the bill at the end of dinner Bryan tried to get the tab but Sandy was quicker. “I’ll get dinner. You get the movie?”

     “I don’t think that’s fair. May I at least pay the tip?”

     “Do you have cash? I was going to pay with my credit card but servers prefer cash tips anyway. That gives them a little more freedom in their reporting. Can you leave seven or eight dollars?”

     “Sure,” he said, pulling out his tattered wallet and counting out a five and three singles. “Expensive place, huh?”

     Sandy smiled, took his hand in hers and kissed it. “You’re worth every penny, pretty boy. Let’s roll. We don’t want to keep Alan Turing waiting now do we?”

     Bryan bought two tickets to “Imitation Game” and they walked to the theater on the far left. “If I did my math right I think I just paid eighteen dollars for our night while dinner was a little over forty with tax,” he said as they took seats toward the back of the cinema and slightly right of center. “Oh! Plus gas! Your math skills are lacking.”

     “Depends on how you look at it. Correct me if I’m wrong but you earned what, around fifteen thousand dollars last year? I pulled in more than that. A lot more. If we go with percentage I should be paying at least four times what you are. Equal’s not always fair, sweetie pie.”

     Collins Road Theaters has an odd opening bit where patrons are warned that they will be ejected from the theater if they consume food brought in from the outside world. This dire warning is tempered with a giveaway of popcorn or a ticket to one lucky audience member. Bryan and Sandy didn’t win the prize but as they had just finished eating, snacks were not on either of their minds.

     After the ubiquitous commercials and coming attractions the movie began and Bryan put his arm around the blonde bombshell who sat nestled next to him and both sat transfixed by the movie’s theme, acting and poignancy. When the movie was over they filled silently out of the theater, hand in hand.

     Bryan walked Sandy to her side of the car and opened the door but the frivolity of the day was gone. He squeezed her hand and then slumped into his seat on the passenger side. “Pretty powerful, huh?” he asked quietly.

     “Terribly so,” was her equally soft spoken response.

    The drive to Sandy’s home was subdued and pensive but not uncomfortable. The Thursday night traffic was sparse and they wound their way back down U.S. 151 as it snaked its way south westward through Rapida Cedro and then she turned north on First Street toward home. “That was just terrible in so many ways, wasn’t it?” Bryan asked as they backed into Sandy’s garage.

     “Yes. Incredible movie and story yet so sad. And what a waste! People having to lie and trying to fit in round holes when they’re square pegs. So much obscenity in the name of decency.”

    Ninja greeted them with both a leg circling and a loud meow and Sandy quickly checked her cat’s water dish. “You have plenty of water, pussy cat. No food until morning. You’ll get fat! We’re going upstairs, sweetie. You want to come?” she asked, scooping the cat up and petting her.

     “Do you mind if we sit on the deck a while?” she asked when they were upstairs. “I know it’s a little chilly but the view is just perfect this time of night.”

     “No. That’d be great. Is there a coat or something I can borrow?”

     “Yes. In the closet. But don’t bother. I have a quilt I’ll bring. We can share. Way more cozy than coats, don’t you think?”

     “You are a genius, aren’t you?” he asked, pecking her cheek. “Bathroom for me,” he added, turning left away from the deck rather than toward it.

     “Me too. I’ll meet you there?”

     “Perfect,” he responded, shutting the bathroom door.

     Bryan was first on the deck and Ninja followed him out. It was rather spacious and included wicker furnishing of two chairs and a love seat. Bryan sat in the love seat, offered his hand to Ninja who sniffed it and then pushed her head against it, picked the cat up and petted her as he enjoyed the view. Sandy came out with the quilt and two glasses of wine and Bryan stood to kiss her and they both sat and wrapped the warm blanket around themselves.

     “Some movie you picked,” he said. “Important and moving, but wow. That’s going to haunt me.”

     “Yes. You know as hard as change is it’s nice to know that in many ways the world really is getting better. Here’s to hope,” she added offering her glass to him. They gently clinked the glasses, sipped and then snuggled close against the chill air, enjoying both the physical contact and body heat.

    Sandy broke the languid silence. “Here’s an interesting tidbit. Laws against miscegenation were overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court the same year the U.K. threw out its Gross Indecency laws. 1967. 1967! There is a tiny sliver of brightness in the miscegenation turnover though. The case was ‘Loving versus Virginia!’ How perfect is that? Imagine telling people they can’t marry someone who isn’t the same race as you are! Though it was almost always used against blacks wanting to marry whites.”

     “How do you know that? I mean, the case name and date?”

     “Daddy. He told us he picketed the Supreme Court building during the trial along with a bunch of other ‘right minded people.’ As a little girl I was confused because I didn’t see why skin color and marriage should matter but he was my daddy and I wanted to understand. When I turned 13 or so I did research for a school paper. ‘Just the facts, ma’am.’ Fact is Daddy’s position sickened me. It was the first time I realized that maybe he was wrong about a lot of things.”

     “And the other thing? The anti-gay thing they arrested Turing for? What did they call that?”

   “’Gross Indecency.’ Actually I learned about that by watching a play! ‘Gross Indecency: The Three Trial of Oscar Wilde.’ TCR produced it. It told the story of how Oscar Wilde, one of the world’s first pop culture stars, fell from fame to death, partially because of laws prohibiting homosexual acts in England. Way more complicated than that of course. Really a tremendous show. Draining. We should see if there is a version on Youtube.”

     “Yeah. That would be nice. You know, I could get used to this,” he said gently biting her earlobe.

     “Me too, honey child. Me too.”