Never had anyone offended her this badly. She felt shabby, for no reason. She hadn’t done anything wrong. It had been such a nice evening. They were out together, Daniel and Rose and herself. After a long day at work they had rewarded themselves with going to see a film. She hadn’t done this in a long time. Having fun. She had been looking forward to the film since days. She had been fidgety like a child in anticipation. When Daniel and Rose had rung her doorbell she jumped down the stairs as if jumping a skipping rope. It was a warm summer evening, so she had put on a light summer dress with flowers on it. Her friends welcomed her with a compliment and made her smile. They decided to walk, instead of taking the bus, they were early anyway. Daniel was telling them about his elderly neighbour. He said that she was a very cute lady, who made him dinner every now and then, after adjudging him of being too skinny. Today she had made him Spaghetti Bolognese and they had been delicious. He was describing the taste and she could feel it on her tongue. She was licking her lips, without noticing. For a moment she was so happy that it left her speechless. They were crossing a bridge and even though she had been crossing tons of them daily it still mesmerised her to look down into the dark water from this high up. She could see the ducks and started to count them. Her mother always asked her: How many ducks did you see today? It was a game they were playing since her early childhood days when she had learned to count by counting ducks in a pond. 43 ducks.
“How do ducks have sex?”, she heard herself asking her friends.
Laughter was her answer.
“Is that a real question?”, Rose asked after a while.
“Sure it is. Only Cloey can ask such fantastic questions,” Daniel said.
He ran his fingers through his hair and then he replied:
“I guess, the male duck climbs on the female duck and then…they make love. What do you reckon?”
“Sounds terrific,” she said and smiled.
It had been a perfect evening. Rose linked arms with her and Daniel started to hum a song from the radio. Cloey didn’t know it. It had been a while since she had listened to radio. After the bridge they had to turn left twice and then the big door of the theatre appeared in front of them. Rose bought the tickets, she insisted, the seats were good. Middle, middle. The trailers were gripping, only crime stories. Then there was a car advertisement and then the film started.
The credits were running in the darkness of the theatre, Rose was in tears, Cloey had already recovered from them, Daniel pretended not to cry. It had been such a magnificent motion picture. Tragic but funny at the same time, but in the end very very tragic. A woman in the row in front of them turned around and looked at the girls contemptuously. Then she said:
“Your laughter was really inappropriate. You should be ashamed of yourselves!”
That was all, she left, them feeling like horrible people, who had committed a terrible crime. But they hadn’t. All they had done was laughing in a cinema.