At a sold out movie, I sat sandwiched between strangers,
sipping Diet Coke so bitter it burned my tongue and
clicking my heels with jump rope legs.

On my right sat a teenage girl with blue eyes and lemon streaked hair,
eating red Twizzlers that matched her lipstick.
On my left was an old man wearing knee high pants and rusted iron glasses,
his stomach round and hard like pregnancy.
He stood up while we waited for the previews,
and asked if I would watch his grandson.
I pulled my legs to my chin while he shuffled his feet out of the row.

My smile to the little boy was the friendly smile you give strangers;
but he took it as old ladies take kind smiles as invitations.

He talked before I could open my mouth to ask a question,
and it felt terribly important that I listen to his words.
Advice and wisdom I offered were brushed over,
my high voice a gold bell tinkling quietly in the background.

His story was the most important one ever told.
He said he lived with his grandmother,
and his mother and father didn't speak anymore.
His harsh words were so unpoetic,
they were rendered into poetry by polar opposites.

He was 11, he told me, leaning over the empty seat,
small, with brown-gray hair and dark lidded eyes.
His whispers were strings of secrets woven in the air,
so tiny and quick I held my breath to clasp them.

He dreamed of being an astronaut, of having
that delicious feeling when your body lets go of gravity.
He read books about mars and outer space,
and told me he needed less time growing up than he'd been given.

I told to him to hold onto childhood as long as he could,
but when he asked me why
I couldn't think of any reasons to say aloud.
"You remind me of me," I whispered,
but he ignored me.
We were so alike he could not see how we were the same.

At the end of the movie,
I locked myself in a cramped stall,
and cried for two minutes over nothing at all.