The events of June 11, 1982 have weighed on me since.
The weight is not due to it having been the 473rd anniversary of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. More due to the union of Mr. T to Slyvester of Stallone. Although E.T. was released that day, I had made plans with a friend and co-worker at Southeast Bank to watch Rocky III at the nearby Omni 6 theater in the Omni International Mall.
The Omni 6 [Omni 10 came later] was Miami’s first movie multiplex. The Mall also had the first major bookstores I had been to, a B. Dalton and Waldenbooks. But I only browsed at mall prices, my book dollars were spent at Raquel Roque’s independent bookstore, the Downtown Book Center.
We planned on catching the twi-lite show [a pattern had already emerged] and my friend was bringing his wife. A price-discounted Friday night movie was this then 23 year-old’s idea of a good way to start the weekend.
The Metromover was still 5 years away, the Brickell/Omni loop 12 years away, so I drove over to the Omni early enough to make my usual browsing rounds of their bookstores. I then walked over to the theater to get my ticket and wait for my friend, Manny, and his wife. They missed our appointed time. First moral decision, wait and forgo the previews? I passed with flying colors.
Mobile phones being 1 million years away, I could only wait. I checked with the theater staff on how long the previews lasted, they had no idea, but mustered up enough energy to agree with my 10 minute estimate. My internal deadline approached. Justifications raced through the mind. They had forgotten. They changed their minds, they instead went into see E.T. and I had just missed them. In the last minutes of waiting, I scoured the escalator like an inept spy in a B movie. Women began staring back clutching their purses.
Whatever my final justification was I don’t recall, but I must have really taken it to heart. When the time came, I went in and enjoyed the movie with a clear conscious. The next day we spoke:
Manny: Hey what happened?
Me: I waited and you guys never showed.
Manny: No, no. We ran late, but got there just as the movie started. We figured you were running late and decided to wait for you. After about 15 minutes of standing around her legs really started bothering her so we had to leave, but we were worried about you.
Did I mention Manny’s wife was pregnant? How pregnant? David would be born 40 days later.
On the 33rd anniversary, I still wander those lands [now the Miami International University School of Art & Design] seeking forgiveness. Mr T, ora pro nobis.