Personal Space

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told. Some will be fun, some will not. Some will be great, some will be less so. Some stories are true, some are merely possible. This is one of them.

Personal Space

Chad was having a hard time getting comfortable.  No matter how nice the theatre looked or how amusing the performance was, he found the leg room lacking.  Chad liked going to live shows, but he always regretted not having the roomy accommodations his home offered.  Going and seeing someone on stage, complete with hiccups and stutters, was a nice change of pace from staring at a screen with commercials.  But the cost of being in the same room as a performer was rather steep for Chad.  It wasn’t so much the ticket price that he minded; it was how tightly the seats were packed together.

He had done his best to acquire aisle seats.  Chad assumed that the ushers would come by intermittently and ask him to tuck his legs in, but those few seconds of being able to stretch seemed worth any hassle.  Others must have had the same idea because Chad’s seat options had been limited to the middle.  He was still able to see the stage from his far-back balcony seats, but any hopes he might have had for indulging in comfort came to naught.

The tickets were worth it.  The comedian, a national radio star, was really quite delightful.  He didn’t cause Chad to burst out in boisterous laughs and guffaws, but he felt himself chuckling along with the audience often.  Everyone in the theatre seemed to be having a good time and they were happy to be there.  Chad looked at Cindy and saw that she was beaming and smiling along effortlessly.

Chad hadn’t known for sure that his friend would tag along when he bought the second ticket, but he had certainly hoped.  She had often mentioned his broadcasts and the two shared a mutual sense of humor most of the time.  While they had never dated, Chad always found his constant companion to be quite lovely.  Chad was quite tall himself, and Cindy came just short of his height.  Brunette with an athletic build and reading glasses, an easy smile often flashed across her face.  Her shoulder-length hair and brown eyes were often admired by other men whenever the two associated in public.  If Chad was being honest, he could hardly blame them.  Cindy’s constant desire to be a better person and the worry she felt for those around her might have hidden away for only her true friends to know about.  Her stunning physique, however, was on display in her own confident way.

The comedian sat on his stool that was perched alone on an empty stage.  The man needed no props and rambled along in a folksy, down-home manner.  He didn’t make any grand gestures or yell at the crowd.  He just talked, to no one person or group in particular, about the townsfolk that he found amusing and the antics that seemingly sprang out of nowhere.  Someone less confident would have shuffled their shoes; possibly crossing their legs and uncrossing them in an attempt to exert some sort of control over the theatre.  This man didn’t have that problem.  His feet; like his timing, were confident and assured.  He kept his feet planted squarely and firmly while he put slight spins on his routine to meet the crowd gathered.  The performer was having a nice time and his business suit seemed a gag in itself.  This wasn’t a group that cared about attire.  They simply wanted to laugh.

Chad’s knees were talking, but not in laughs or chortles.  While his need for entertainment was being met, Chad’s desire to stretch was only growing.  He was not technically in pain; however he was certainly feeling the strong itch to move well up inside his legs.  His knees were bumped up against the chair in front of him and no matter how much he sat up, his lower appendages lacked sufficient space.  Even if wasn’t living in terror that his knees popping would pierce the quiet ambiance of the room, his legs lacked a maneuvering area.  He felt his legs get tighter as the hour drew later.  Chad began to realize that there was no intermission coming to allow him anything resembling relief.  He could try to twist his legs diagonally, but he could only readjust so many times before Cindy would catch on.  Chad was determined to remain a proper theatre patron in front of her, even if his discomfort was approaching a level normally reserved for flights to Australia or dental visits.

Finally, after almost two hours, the performer stood up slowly, and thanked the audience for coming.  Chad leapt to his legs and clapped enthusiastically.  His legs cheered at their newfound ability to decompress while those around him applauded the performer; they remained ignorant of how he had suffered for art.  As the performer lifted the stool and started walking off towards stage left, Chad bounced lightly from one foot to the other.  He was about to take a break from clapping and rub the back of his knees when he saw Cindy watching him out of the corner of his eye.

“Had a little trouble sitting still, did ya?”

Chad’s sheepish grin came out and he looked apologetically towards his friend.  “You noticed?”

“Yep”, she admitted.  She leaned in towards him, closing what little space had been between them.  “Nobody else did though.  You made a valiant effort.”

Chad smiled at this as Cindy continued clapping.  He pulled her towards him and hugged her opposite arm.  “A good show with a quality friend”, he said to her.   “I’d call that worthwhile.”

The lights in the theatre went up from dusk-like to mostly-dim and the mass of people bustled and chatted their way out of the aisles.  Quite content with the company he had already; Chad rubbed his legs and enjoyed having no one sitting to the left of him.  He lifted his legs, popped his knees, and generally felt himself relaxing.  Cindy looked at the process with a shake of her head.

“You know, if we choreograph that whole performance you’re putting on, we could sell tickets.”

“Funny”, Chad replied.  “High-larious.”

“Are you ready to go, or does Old Man Winter need a wheelchair brought to him?”

Chad looked around and noticed that only a few stragglers remained.  He made his way towards the aisles and Cindy followed along.  There was still a mighty crowd around the elevators so the two wove and navigated through the groups of people on the staircases.  Chad did his customary pocket check to make sure that his car keys were still in his pocket while Cindy did her best to take in the pieces of artwork that decorated the elaborate walls.

They walked down the last few steps and pushed the heavy doors open.  Stepping into the night air, January’s fierce weather assaulted them immediately.  As if the low temperature was not enough of a threat to the general populace, it had brought along its friend wind-chill factor.  The wintery cold slapped Cindy and Chad in the face and nipped at any openings of their clothes.  They pulled their clothes tighter and shrank their heads into their too-thin coats like turtles.  They hadn’t planned for this sort of extreme environment and had no coats or gloves.

Cindy, being the one who took action, grabbed Chad’s right arm and pulled him close.  She tucked her arms inside his jacket and closed them around his waist.  Their chests and hips pressed against each other and an unspoken trust passed from her to him.  Chad; surprised but game, put his arm tightly around her.  One extra-wide person with four legs and two heads leaning against each other made its way down the sidewalks.  They hugged and laughed, hoping to beat the cold off with determination and shared body heat.  Chad enjoyed the closeness with his friend and realized he had to rethink some ideas he had.  Before he had been yearning to break free and have all the personal space he and his legs could acquire.  Now he was quite content to keep holding on to his companion for as long as he she’d let him.

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About anecdotaltales
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

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