Rose was always there early. She would walk the hour it took her from home whatever the weather. It was the start of her weekly ritual. It helped her clear her mind of her daily life and her never ending 'to do' list and responsibilities. Saturday was her night off and her treat to herself.
She had found the place by accident about 5 years ago, when she had first moved to London. The big city lights and noise were too much for her times and only echoed the constant clatter that went on inside her. It would never have been her choice ordinarily but the care and regular treatments her husband needed were only available in the city hospital. The cinema was tucked into a little side street, not far from Leicester Square. The noise of the hen parties, tourists and pigeons seemed like a million miles away. Inside it was dead silent.
Rose had initially worried about going to the cinema or her own. What would people think? Would people stare at her? But she had stopped caring about that a long time ago. Worrying about what others thought of her felt decadent now and something she was unable to comprehend. Of course no one would stare or notice her. She was invisible, or at least felt that way.
As the whir of the projector started up Rose settled down into her worn velvet chair with her cup of tea and slice of homemade cake that she had bought from the bar before the show. There were no buckets of popcorn and gallons of icy sweet fizz. It was like stepping back in time. She savoured her first mouthful of strong sweet tea – the first one of the week that someone other than herself had made. It was those little things she missed.
As the opening credits rolled onto the screen everything outside was safely locked away. She was cocooned. The thick, soundproofed doors and darkness kept everything out.
It didn't matter what film was showing. Rose needed these moments and this time to herself. A chance to feel free and float off into another space. In this place the world outside stopped and she could start to breath again.
After the film ended Rose stepped back out into the dark evening and started the long walk home. Same time next week...
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