i didn’t realize that the people in front of me were standing in line because they didn’t have tickets. the last time i saw a sold out screening at this theater, they made everyone line up outside and wait to be let in, ticket holder or not. but the movie started at seven, and it was six fifty-nine. my partner had a few stops to go before getting off the train, and it occurred to me that if i didn’t go inside soon, we might not get seats next to each other.

the youngish guy in front of me wore a wide brim fedora and a button down with a revere collar, and he had the Film Forum catalogue open in his hand, flipping through it and jabbing his finger into each movie he wanted to see, as if he was showing someone, except he wasn’t. he didn’t look like someone who would come here organically to see House (1977), and so maybe someone told him it was their favorite movie, and he showed up to impress them.

he also kept staring at me, so i made the bold decision to dart inside, line be damned. except of course i stood in that line for nothing. the theater was already packed, and the only seats left next to each other were in the very back row. some man was planted behind the last row in a power stance, one hand gripping the back of one seat, one hand gripping the back of another. i aimed for the next two seats down, the ones beside the ones he was saving. our eyes didn’t even meet, but he could’t stop himself from grunting at me and going I Just Need These Seats.

i ignored him and sunk down into one of seats, throwing my backpack on the other. the guy who Just Needed Those Seats glared at me, and i wondered if he had been trying to save the backpack seat, too. instead, the person he was saving a seat for slid down the row and sat next to the backpack seat, and the other guy hopped over the row and took the seat next to him.

i spotted my partner in the doorway and waved her over, and the men next to the backpack seat grumbled about letting her through.

House is my partner’s favorite movie, and i would easily rank it in my top ten. despite its comedy and age, some moments still manage to unsettle me so deeply that i forget how to stand. watching while Fantasy’s warnings are dismissed over and over again as figments of her imagination, only for the auntie’s spirit, in Gorgeous’ body, to finally hear her and envelop her in what is both a motherly and sapphic embrace before presumably devouring her, creeps up on me each time.

after the movie, my partner and i walked a few blocks to get Taco Bell, and it was only us and some teens in the restaurant. we’ve both been dating on a budget recently, especially since I’m still recovering from four months of unemployment. but it was a really sweet time. i even got to have a Baja Blast.