In Providence

In Providence: Acme Video

“That’s what we liked doing. We liked watching movies.

“She would get the movie one week. I’d get it the next week. That’s how we– I miss that place. We would go there every weekend.

“Fridays she got off at seven and I would pick her up at work. They all knew me down there — at the nursing home where she worked. She told ‘em I was her roommate, because that was what you said back then. I thought they all knew I always thought that. I’d pick her up and we’d go to Acme Video and we’d get movies. We’d come home. She’d cook.

“I’ll tell you the truth– She’s a better cook than me. She makes– She can go in the kitchen and have a five-course meal for you better than a restaurant. Better than any restaurant. I swear to god. Me? I would get take-out and put it on the plate. You make this or did you order it? I made it just for you! What are you talking about? I think you ordered this. She knew I ordered it. We sat right in front of the tv and watched– We could do two or three movies a night if we weren’t tired. I wasn’t working as much, because I had hurt my back. She was taking care of both of us. That’s what she did. She liked to take care of people.

“My favorite was scary movies. That’s what I liked. She liked the comedies. If it was my week, we were going to watch Friday the 13th. I would make her watch all of them. The last ones aren’t good, but they’re fun. They’re a good time. If it was her week, we’re watching– What would we watch? We would watch comedies, but they’d be romantic comedies like– She liked When Harry Met Sally. She liked all the ones with Tom Hanks. The ones with Meg Ryan. That was what she liked. We never watched tv — only movies.

“She has two daughters from her first marriage. When her daughters would come over, we’d watch movies with them. We’d take them to the store with us, and they could pick out their movies, and when they got older, she had a room for them here. They lived with their father, because she had some bad things happen to her when she was–When she first had them, and she wasn’t– She couldn’t be a good mom right off the bat. Her ex and his mother used to take care of the two girls, and there was a son too, but he never wanted to come over. He and her weren’t close. The girls and us were close though. I love those girls.

“When they got older — I’m talking out of high school, going into college — this was when marriage had passed. They asked us if we were getting married. We hadn’t even told them we were gay. They figured it out on– They weren’t stupid. They knew what was going on, but we never talked to them about it. They wanted to know if we were going to get married, because they knew we had been together all those years.

“I said to her, ‘You want to get married?’ Neither one of us had thought about it too much, you know, because we weren’t even– We had never even come out to her family and my family, please, they didn’t want to hear any of that. They wanted me to go out with this guy from Warwick that lived down the road from us growing up. I won’t tell you his name, because you might know him, but he was a piece of work. Not in a good way, I’m saying, not somebody you would want to marry.

“We talked about it. I didn’t want to push it, because I was going to stay with her whether we got married or not. One day the girls are over and we’re watching a movie, and in the movie, the couple, whoever they are, they’re getting married. She looks at me and she goes, ‘That’s the kind of wedding I want. Nothing too crazy.’ That was how I knew she wanted to do it. The girls got all excited. They’re good kids, let me tell you.

“Later that year, we made it official. We have the wedding. It’s not just like the one in the movie, but it’s a nice wedding. She was all happy. We both were. I never thought I would see the day, I’m telling you. People were making fun of me, because all day I’m walking around saying ‘Do you believe this? Do you believe it?’ My mother came to the wedding and everything. I couldn’t get over it. She gave me a big hug and told me she was happy for me. You could’ve knocked me over. Best day of my life.

“Nothing changed much after that. We kept doing what we were doing. But now she’s my wife, you see what I’m saying? It doesn’t change anything and it changes everything. We weren’t one of those people out there fighting for it, because we had to– She was going to work every day, and I got a job up in Mass that I would go to every day, and we only got a little free time every day. We wanted to spend it with each other. I didn’t– I didn’t think it would matter to me as much as it did, but I was dead wrong. It matters a lot.

“When Acme Video closed, oh, you know, we were heartbroken. We loved that place. One of the girls got us hooked up with Netflix, and now we have all the movies you could ever want, but we had a routine. That’s the thing. I loved the routine. Picking her up, grabbing some movies, pretending I made dinner for her. Putting it all nice on the plates. I loved doing all that. The girls are all grown up now. One’s getting married this November. The other one is going with a girl she goes to school with, and it’s so different. It’s so different now how public they can be about it. I think it’s great. Things change, you know? For the good and the bad they change. But I would say mostly for good. A lot of the businesses around where we live are different now, but that’s just life. That’s how it is. And now I got a wife and I got two stepdaughters and I might even have grandkids one day soon. Do you believe that? I still can’t believe it.

“What about you?

“You seen any good movies lately?”

Disclaimer: The In Providence column may include elements of creative non-fiction. See our story on that concept here: https://motifri.com/in-providence-creative-writing-taking-on-the-burden-of-the-truth/

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