The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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Some of the older kids in the line outside of The Senator wore their hair pushed awkwardly forward. It was evident that they had mussed up their crewcuts as best they could with spit slicked hands as soon as they were out of their parents’ sight. Their hair wasn’t long enough to fall into the distinctive Beatles shag no matter the amount of preening so, their awkward mop top simulacra read more Moe, than John, Paul, George, or Ringo. At nine, Robert didn’t give much thought to clothes or haircuts. His focus was on the records that came the previous birthday and Christmas, and the occasional television appearance. The movies and the Beatles were the dual apotheosis of mid-century youth culture. The thought of combining the two was thrilling in its nearly transgressive decadence.
            Robert didn’t give much thought to girls, but he did notice that there were a disproportionate number of them in the box office line and milling about on the wide sidewalk beneath the theater’s bright, art deco marquee. He noticed a few of them notice his older brother Tep, who had made no attempt to alter his hair’s clean part or slight asymmetrical wave. Tep had begun to present as very long and lean which, along with deep set eyes and an otherwise serious demeanor set off by a mischievous kink in his smile, began to draw notice from girls his age.
            It had been a few weeks since the movie had opened, so the lines no longer stretched around the block, but the boys had arrived a full hour before showtime to assure themselves good seats. When the doors opened, however, they weren’t prepared for the rapaciousness with which the young ladies moved through the lobby and into the dual aisles of the giant theater. By virtue of the auditorium’s size Robert and Tep were still able to secure fairly good seats, on the aisle per Rob’s insistence.
            Any movie showing has a certain pre show energy, especially one comprised primarily of people under twenty-five, but there was an exaggerated thrum that the boys weren’t used to. They craned their necks back and forth as people settled into seats around them. The dimming of the lights, and the sliding back of the curtain mollified the energy of the room to a certain degree, but the theater remained at a heightened energy level until the screen went black. There was a collective inhale that was broken by a dissonant guitar chord, which hung in the air for a moment until it was replaced by a cacophony of amorous adolescent energy.
            Screams, among which one could occasionally make out one of four names continued for the entire 87 minute runtime. Robert and Tep looked blankly at each other as the dry, British humor of Richard Lester and a dozen brand new Beatles songs were drowned out by an exuberant din that presaged the sound experiments of John Lennon’s eventual widow.


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