Sadness and fear collided inside me when I saw the first flicker of white light from no more than 20 or 30 feet away. I wanted so desperately to move towards it; as if a marionette, all the cells in my body felt as if they had stood up in unison, my balance wanting to shift without consent. To the outside world I remained motionless, conquered by the intertwining of desire, fear, and heartache radiating from the white light that pulled me close and pushed me away with equal force.
The rectangle of light filled the darkness marginally at first, brightened and blackened by the single digit that passed over it. The finger hustled the light in all cardinal directions, unable to decide where, when, or even if the light should truly exist.
And I wanted it.
I longed to run right up to the light, to the trigger finger that controlled it, to the man who controlled the trigger finger . . . but I lingered in the safety of my darkness. Had I more courage, less heart, or a brain unplagued by paranoia, I would have snatched the phone right out of the man’s hand and thrown it out into the lobby of the movie theatre where it should have been in the first place.
Instead I sat there, imagining excessively and taking no action. I thought about lunatics. I thought about thought. I thought about reaction. I thought about the historical character I was watching on the screen, a man who had been assassinated almost 150 years ago. I thought about movie theatres. I thought about Colorado. I thought about guns. I thought about a gun pointing at me in a movie theatre for no good reason.
Moving towards the white light promptly evolved into being a horrendously bad idea, despite the clear path set up by my aisle seat. An irrational fear paralyzed me in a theatre where I had always been determined to enjoy myself. I realize how “What if” may get us into trouble . . . either we think too much or not enough, but refusing to act or politely ask “Excuse me, would you mind turning off your phone inside the theatre” should no longer fill us with fear.
I have conquered the darkness; now I must choose not to fear the light.