At the end of my freshman year of college I became bedridden with mono. I saw the guy who gave it to me the other day and I fought back the urge to punch him in the mouth.
Mono became my own special form of Hell as I had to come home early from Hawaii to remain on bed rest, I was isolated from my friends (contagion), and I had insomnia at the same time. No play and no sleep make Cait one crazy mofo. By the time my symptoms had started to die down I was aching for any form of human contact.
I had known Michael for several years. He had a repulsive personality, the type of guy whose only jokes were “That’s what she said” jokes or lines from Anchorman. He had the hyperactivity of a ten year-old and the smarts to match. His life plans were to become a successful DJ but he had terrible taste in music and even more offensive dance moves. “Then why, Cait?” you may ask. I ask myself the same question. I will refer you to the previously mentioned depravity of connection and sleep that I was experiencing at the time; maybe some emotional numbness? That was good enough of an excuse for me until “The Dark Knight” Midnight premiere.
Michael was obsessed with batman. He dressed up at Batman for Halloween every year. I think someone told him that he looked like Christian Bale once, which only fueled the fantasy. At any moment in time Michael would break into a raspy voice that he had to explain was his Batman voice. So naturally, he was very excited for the second installation of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy.
Tickets were bought, plans were instated, costumes were made (his, not mine). We arrived at the theater at the requisite two hours early and met up with his group of friends already holding a place for us in one of the 18 lines. The cinema lobby was flooded with comic book characters eagerly awaiting relocation to their seats. With two hours to spare of sitting in line, one of Michael’s friends whipped out a pack of UNO cards, and we began an intense game.
Fortuitously I was dealt three “Draw Four” cards and strategically played it to force almost-winner Michael to draw 12 more cards. Everyone in the group cooed “Ooooo!” and I shouted “Suckah!” Michael read the cards, looked at me, looked back at the cards and then back to me. His face shocked, his eyes mischievous, his hands… reaching for my shirt. Michael proceeded to lift my shirt up, in front of all of his friends and the hoards of strangers in the vicinity, and gave my stomach a raspberry. He pretended to tickle me after he pulled his mouth away from my stomach. I sat there statue-like, frozen to the spot by my complete and utter mortification. Michael’s friends were similarly distressed and a hush fell on everyone within a 20 feet radius of the event, with the exception of clueless Michael who was rife with boyish excitement.
My immediate reaction was to run out of the building. I excused myself and walked calmly to the exit, desperately needing a gust of wind to force itself into my collapsed lungs. One of Michael’s friends, Chris, followed me out. “Are you okay? Do you want to go home? Michael is such a weirdo!” I assured him that I would be all right. I had waited several hours for the premiere and sure-as-hell wasn’t going to go through that only to not receive a free movie. We rejoined the group as the line started to move. Michael was still oblivious and tried to hug me as I approached. Chris acted as a shield of protection until we took our seats. As the previews began Michael leaned over to me and said, “We’ll have to go see these too.” “Not likely,” I responded.
The movie ended. I didn’t have to talk on the ride home since Michael was feeling extra loquacious. I gave him a side hug at the door and never went out with him again.