He found himself in an empty theatre. None of the seats were occupied except for his. A vague sense of the movie having just ended hung in the air. But he had no memory of going to the movies.
“It’s still a bit disconcerting, isn’t it?” A voice from behind broke the silence. He looked around and saw a figure near the EXIT sign. In the dimness, he could make out no features.
“Recently, I’ve been trying this visual analogy, but people still seem a bit confused.”
“I don’t know what you mean.” The man – definitely a man – wasn’t making any sense. So far none of this did. “What movie was playing?”
“Really? I guess the setting really doesn’t help. It was your movie, Richard. Yours alone. You wrote it. Starred in it. And now it’s over.”
“My movie? I’ve never written a script. And I’m not an actor.”
He still couldn’t see the other very well, but he could feel the shrug. “As you will. My job is done. You’re welcome to stay if you like. You can watch the movie again. Or create a new one. Or leave here to try something else. Your choice. I’ll see you around. If you want.”
“I don’t understand. I don’t even know where I am.”
“Yes, you do. Look, I won’t tell you what to do. But if you really are this confused, maybe watch the movie again. However, if you’re ready for something else, leave and see where your imagination takes you. It’s up to you.”
The door closing seemed rather final. It was up to him? The seat was comfortable. Watching a movie seemed like an easy way forward. When was the next showing? A bit of restlessness crept over him. The desire for something new fought with the comfort of the familiar. New meant unknown. It required him to act. And the movie was right here.
* * *
It was suddenly very bright, and a sharp slap on his butt elicited a cry as he inhaled air for the first time. He was placed in the arms of a woman. His mother!
“Congratulations. It’s a boy.”
His mother smiled and looked at someone next to the bed. “Richard! Did you hear? It’s a boy. We should name him after you.”
He relaxed into the comfort of his mother’s arms and fell asleep.