Portia got her nails done right after work: long gel tips, hot pink, no art. She didn’t have the cash. Not since Sven had dumped her last week on the street corner in the rain, like she was some whore.
I’m not, Portia reassured herself as she dashed home to pick up supper before the movie. She sighed as she pulled her second to last Lean Cuisine out of the freezer, and she groaned when she saw that it was chicken with mushrooms and potatoes. They were all chicken with mushrooms now, Portia surmised. She tried not to be fatalist as she carefully dabbed the buttons on the microwave. Gotta protect the nails, she thought. They gotta last til I find a new guy, she rationalized.
Portia pulled the steaming Lean Cuisine out of the microwave, burning her wrist as she did. “Shit!” she screamed, even though Sven wasn’t there. No one to kiss it better, Portia thought sadly. She shook it off, wrapped the food in a towel, and tossed it into her large purse before heading out to the theater.
A girl’s gotta do something to keep her spirits up, Portia told herself as she made her way over to the multiplex. Gotta put yourself out there, girl, she thought. Portia knew she was right. She was a survivor.
Portia put her movie ticket on Sven’s credit card. What he doesn’t know won’t hurt me, Portia joked to herself. She sat near the back of the theater, plunking herself down next to an older man with a graying beard. Portia liked how strong his hand looked on his soda cup.
“Hi, there,” Portia flashed him a smile when she had gotten her jacket off. “I’m Portia.”
“Michael,” the older gentleman replied.
So far, so good, Portia thought as she opened her purse. Damn, the mushroom sauce had leaked out of the Lean Cuisine. Portia could have cried. Now her purse would smell like fucking Lean Cuisine for God knows how long. Portia actually felt tears welling up as she pulled out her fork.
“Here you go, young lady,” Michael handed her a neatly folded, clean, white handkerchief. “Don’t make a mess now,” Portia thought she detected a hint of a drawl. Oh, a real southern gentleman, she thought with glee, scarfing down her Lean Cuisine.
Fuck Sven, Portia thought. You can do better, girl. Portia gulped down her last few bites, eyeing the silly commercials on the screen, then she shoved her Lean Cuisine tray under the seat in front of her and kicked it away with the tip of her high-heeled boot.
“So, Michael,” Portia turned to her seat mate, “what do you do for a living?” Portia neatly folded the dirty handkerchief and tucked it into Michael’s jacket pocket with her hot pink manicured fingers. He looked surprised.
“A gentleman never discusses what he does for money,” Michael upbraided her with a frown. Portia was nonplussed. She slipped her pink manicured hand around his neck and trailed her fingers through his thick gray hair.
Portia liked this guy. She tossed her smelly purse a few seats away and cozied up for the movie. The lights were going down and Portia needed more Lean Cuisines. Fuck you, Sven, Portia thought as she laid her head on Michael’s shoulder. He smelled good, like fresh cut wood. See, Sven, Portia thought. I can do better.
Michael used a firm hand to push Portia’s coiffed blonde head off his shoulder and he stood above her in the dark theater. “Good night, young lady,” he said as he picked up his coat. “Enjoy the movie.” He made his way out of the theater as the movie began.
Damn it, thought Portia with a toss of her head. Not even a second glance? What a jerk. She reached for her purse as she surveyed the theater for better options. She eyed a youngish-looking, dark-haired hottie a few rows up and then let out a little scream when she found her purse was missing.
Portia stood up and shouted into the darkness. “I hope whoever stole my purse likes mushrooms!” Then she sashayed up a few rows and sat down next to the hottie.
“Hi, I’m Portia,” she smiled and offered him her pink-tipped fingers in the darkness. He slipped his buttery fingers around hers and pulled her hand down into his bucket of popcorn with a grunt.
Fuck you, Sven, Portia thought yet again, regretfully, before she shoved a handful of popcorn into her mouth. “Yum!” She whispered into the hottie’s ear as she laid her head on his shoulder. She had to think of those Lean Cuisines. And a new purse.