"Are you OK, baby?" Cayden whispered, giving my thigh a squeeze.
Tears were pouring down my face and I couldn't stop them. One after the other after the other. I tried to whisper a response, but my throat was so tight no words would come out, so I nodded and choked out a garbled "uh-huh," which sounded more like a burp-hiccup hybrid. A burccup, if you will.
I squeezed his hand with one of mine and blotted my face with a scratchy brown napkin with the other.
It's just a movie, I told myself. Rachel McAdams didn't actually go through a windshield and lose her memory and Channing Tatum did not have to try to convince his wife that she loved him. But Channing Tatum does, in fact, look delicious in a cable-knit toggle sweater.
But I knew it wasn't just a movie. In the back of my mind, I couldn't block out the fact that The Vow was based on a true story. I tried to turn my brain off and just enjoy the movie, but I couldn't help but to imagine myself in that same predicament. What if one day Cayden woke up and had no idea who I was, much less the fact that he was madly in love with me? What if he had no memory of the night we met, the night we spent under the stars in Brooklyn, the moment we saw each other again a year later, the day he asked me out, the day I said yes, the day he proposed. Would I be able to kick his ass and start all over again?
Another burccup escaped my lips and I felt Cayden check on me out of the corner of his eye. I took another swig of red wine and gulped loudly in a poor attempt to mask the burccups.
I wondered if Cayden was doing the same thing--imagining what life would be like if the past two and a half years had been erased from my memory and I thought I was still head-over-heels for another man.
Suddenly my surrounding felt all too familiar. Northpark movie theater. Tears. Scratchy brown napkins. Red wine in a plastic cup that unexplainably shocks your lips on the first sip. I'd been there before, only I was with Rae, not Cayden, and we were watching 'Like Crazy.' I made a mental note to avoid the red wine when the movie included a man and a woman, love, kissing, heartbreak, or any form of mental or physical distance that's wider than the arm rest in the theater.
I vaguely remembered a time when I could leave the movie theater with my mascara and eyeliner still intact. Nowadays I can't even watch a Twilight movie without faking an allergic reaction to my contact solution. Who knew falling in love could change your entire movie-going experience?
"I vow to help you love life, to always hold you with tenderness and to have the patience that love demands, to speak when words are needed and to share the silence when they are not and to live within the warmth of your heart and always call it home."
A fresh stream of tears poured down my face as I watched Rachel McAdam's character watch herself recite her vows on their wedding video. That streamed turned into a high-powered faucet as Channing's character recited his.
"I vow to fiercely love you in all your forms, now and forever. I promise to never forget that this is a once in a lifetime love."
Burccup. Sob. Snot. Sip. Gulp.
Some call it fate. Some call it soulmate. Some call it true love. But 'a once in a lifetime love' now felt like the only way to describe it. I caught myself wondering if anyone would notice if I borrowed those vows for my wedding.
I managed to regain control of my tearducts by the end of the movie, but I knew I looked like a hot mess by the time the lights came on. I shielded my puffy eyes from Cayden. He wrapped a big, heavy arm around me and pulled me against him.
"When did you turn into such a girl?" he teased, trapping me in his arm while he planted tiny, ticklish kisses all over my face. I squirmed my way free.
"Girl meets boy. Girl falls in love. Girl turns into a girl," I answered. Simple as that.
"Either that, or girl drinks too much wine and turns into drunk crying girl." He had a point.
He kept an arm tightly around me, as if protecting me from the hypothetical windshield as he led us out of the theater and into the parking lot.
"Hey, babe?" I said, looking up at him from such a close distance that I had to crane my neck.
"If I ever lose my memory and forget who you are, just make me read my blog. I'm sure I'll fall in love with you all over again."
"It's a deal," he said, kissing the top of my head.
"But steer clear when I get to that breakup email you sent me back in the day. Because I will punch you in the face."