It took about 2 years for the movie Bruce & Juliette to be completed and ready for release. During that time, despite Bertha’s busy filming schedule, and despite their geographical distance, she and Thorson managed to continue cultivating their friendship.
Like most friendships, their relationship experienced numerous ups and downs, but on the whole, each passing month saw them closer and closer. Two years previous, when Thord had asked Bertha to be his girlfriend, she had basically told him, “not yet,” but with their strengthening friendship, it was only a few weeks before Thorson asked the question again. This time, she said “Yes!”
They might have been hundreds of miles apart, but that didn’t prevent Thord from figuring out how to get flowers into her dressing-room on a random, but regular basis. Thorson also received packages from Bertha – sometimes just a hand-made card, sometimes movie memorabilia or other gifts.
As Thorson thought back on the past two years, in some ways, it seemed like a lifetime ago that he had sent a fan letter to a girl named Bertha Gertrude VonEngle. In other ways, the time had simply flown by…and now, here he was, sitting in a movie theater in the city of Saskatoon, desperately missing his girlfriend – and reflecting on the fact that he was dating…and missing…a girl that he had never actually met in person. His pain was made more acute due to the fact that he was sitting within a roped-off “VIP” viewing area for the Canadian premier of Bruce & Juliette. Bertha had told him that she was unable to attend the premier in Canada due to a scheduling conflict, but had arranged for him to get a spot in with the directors, the actors who had been able to come up, and close family and friends. A few seats over, Bertha’s co-star Raphael was cracking jokes with one of the directors. Raphael had spent some time talking to Thorson as well, and Thord thought he was a nice enough guy, but he was rather jealous that Raph had spent so much time with the girl who he loved, but seemed unable to meet.
Before watching The Disaster and seeing Bertha for the first time, he didn’t mind going to movies by himself. Every time that he had an empty seat beside him, he had secretly hoped that a cute girl would sit beside him, and that they would somehow “connect”. More often than not, if the seat was taken, it was occupied by some guy that smelled of cheap cologne and looked vaguely like “Comic Book Guy” from the Simpsons. On the extremely rare cases where a cute girl did sit beside him, she was always too busy “connecting” with the guy on her other side to even notice Thorson.
Tonight, he rather hoped that the empty spot beside him would remain empty, and as it was just about show-time, he figured he would get his wish. However, just as the curtain was about to rise, and moments after he had set his extra-large popcorn bag in the vacant seat, an usher came up to him and said, “Excuse me sir, can you please move your popcorn? We have a late arrival from the film company that we need to seat here.”
He didn’t bother to look up as the late-comer sat down, but nearly yelped when the stranger grabbed his hand. He instinctively jerked his hand away and turned to tell the stranger to back off, but his anger quickly gave way to a huge smile…almost as big as the one on Bertha’s face. Apparently, she had been lying about the scheduling conflict, but somehow Thorson didn’t mind. When she took his hand again, he didn’t pull away.
~~to be continued~~