Moms and daughters rush past me with homemade fleece blankets and folding chairs, stowing their camp-out accoutrements back in their cars.
The line snakes down the sidewalk, swollen in places with groups of ten or twelve pre-teens and teens, wrapped in Twilight blankets and wearing shirts declaring their chosen team: Edward or Jacob.
Rumors of passersby throwing eggs float along the line. Must be some teenage boys jealous of Edward Cullen's indefatigable hold over teenage girls' collective romantic dreams...
I spot my students scattered throughout the line, and join one group. Only 30 more minutes before the doors open, so we chat. Other young women wander over to say hello, share details about their lives, and wander back to their place in line.
The doors open.
The girls clap and scream.
We filter in, offering our pre-purchased tickets. I buy a small popcorn and water, and find seats for a few students and myself. We chat for an hour, my students eagerly sharing stories from their lives. So open, and so optimistic about lives so very different from mine. They juggle school, children, new relationships, part-time jobs.
The theater darkens. The previews show. The movie...
begins. Clapping. Breathy anticipation.
We wait. For him.
And there he is, in his pristine pallor, his red lips, his changeable eyes.
The movie continues, following the contours of the novel much more closely than the first iteration. Verdant northwest scenery and angsty-emo indie music seduce this viewer.
The rival appears, with shorn hair. He lifts off his shirt...
audible gasps and palpable wanting fill the theater.
The story unfolds, the viewers entranced.
A few moments before the final scene, and I know what it will be.
The romance scholar in me grins.
The scene unfolds with an unanswered question.
The audience's frustration at that ending fills the theater as the credits roll and the full house leaves a fantasy world behind.
It's 2:10 am. Colder. Quieter.
I start my car and the movie soundtrack picks up where it left off, with my favorite track: "No Sound but the Wind" by the Editors. Help me to carry the fire, we will keep the light together...it will light our way forever.
I think back to last January, when I devoured all four books in the span of three weeks. The days were long, the daylight short. The story culled forth memories of awkward teenage years, seeking—and never finding—perfect—or, for that matter, imperfect—love. Longing for something that seemed so impossible. I listened to the soundtrack obsessively. I thought of my literary crushes: Gilbert Blythe and Mr. Darcy. I dreamed, hoped, wished that this might be the year that I would find him...
And, as I settle into bed, I think of him, sleeping twenty minutes away.
Sometimes dreams really do come true.