10 October 2018
‘So,’ Jay begins, ‘here’s what we’re going to do. Are you ready?’
‘This is a terrible idea,’ Sam warns.
‘I’m going to get us two tickets to a random show tonight, and I’m going to let the attendant decide for us.’
‘I cannot believe you’re leaving it up to a stranger to decide what we watch.’
‘What if I ask her to pick the most popular one?’
‘Depends, is Vin Diesel in them?’
‘Fair point. Here goes nothing,’ Jay grins, backing away toward the counter.
Sam ambles over to the confectionary stand, feeling her heart flutter with anticipation; it’s her first date in years. She picks out some snacks and wills herself not to embarrass herself as she waits.
Jay rejoins her, ‘‘Two tickets to Black and White Memoirs. Have you heard of it?’
Sam shakes her head. ‘Who’s in it?’
‘She didn’t say.’
‘I guess we could check out the posters. Is that allowed?’ she asks cheekily.
‘Sure it is, but mark my words: there’s no turning back now,’ Jay winks, ‘We’ve got about an hour to kill. Wanna check out the art installations across the street?’
On their way out, Jay hangs back to retie one of his shoelaces. Sam strolls ahead of him, surveying the line of posters on the wall. Involuntarily, she looks up at the neon sign above. A gasp escapes her.
Black and White Memoirs. Starring Arthur Gadsby and Julie Sainsbury.
‘Did you find it?’ Jay asks her, catching up.
Sam doesn’t respond, as the resounding pounding in her chest rises to her cheeks and ears.
‘Sam? What are you—’
He follows her gaze upward and finds the names she is staring at.
‘I change my mind about the movie,’ Sam says quietly, ‘Want to grab a bite to eat instead?’
He turns toward her, and for a moment, Jay’s unfocused eyes have her fearing the worst. Then, a fog seems to clear and he smiles brightly.
‘Dinner sounds great,’ he replies, taking her hand, ‘I know a place nearby.’
Out of the corner of her eye, Sam watches him crush up the tickets and toss them into a bin.
If her mother had been watching, she would’ve had something to say about the new spring in her step.
9 September 2017
Sam knocks on the door tentatively, ‘Jay?’
A minute passes before she hears shuffling on the other side and the click of a lock.
A haggard face appears, with disheveled hair and a torso to match. ‘What are you doing here?’
Sam raises her eyebrows in response, ‘It’s good to see you too. Heena wanted you to have this.’
She shoves a box of pastries at him.
‘She’s got a 1am deadline, so she couldn’t be here herself.’
‘Right,’ he mumbles, taking the box from her and walking away.
Is she meant to follow him in? Her roommate’s errand is turning into a social call that she doesn’t have an appetite for.
‘I can’t stay long,’ she calls after him, closing the door.
‘Okay,’ he replies, plopping down onto the couch.
She sits down across from him in an armchair. ‘How are you holding up?’
He picks out the largest donut in the box and takes a bite, ‘Well, I clean when I’m upset,’ he gestures around his living room, ‘So this is the tidiest my apartment has ever been.’
‘So she’s really gone, huh?’
‘I was getting her mail until a week ago, but I haven’t seen anything since Tuesday.’
Sam frowns. Julie has pulled stunts like this before, but never long enough to set up mail forwarding.
She leans back into the chair and pulls up her feet, ‘Do you have any idea where she is?’
‘I can narrow it down to the LA County area.’
They sit in silence as Jay reaches for a second helping.
‘Well?’ he enquires, after a couple of minutes, ‘Aren’t you going to shrug at me and say I told you so?’
‘What good would that do?’
‘That hasn’t stopped anyone before.’
‘Well, I learn faster than most humans.’
‘I liked Julie.’
‘As did I,’ he acquiesces.
‘Ah, I should’ve known there’d be one.’
‘—she had dreams, and if you couldn’t fully support her journey, then do it from afar.’
Jay watches her silently, polishing off his third treat.
‘That might be the realest thing anyone has ever said to me.’
When he reaches for his fourth, Sam is obliged to move the box into the kitchen