The Anniversary Seat by ‘B9’

‘The rain it hammered down…’

Towards the end of 2007 the Duke of York’s launched an appeal. The roof was badly in need of repair and being part of a listed building meant it would not be cheap. In order to raise funds for this the cinema offered people the opportunity to sponsor a seat in the stalls. The sponsor would be able to choose their desired seat and have a small plaque attached to the back, featuring their name and/or dedication etc.

Well, I realised I must join in and help. The only film during which one should feel rain on one’s head is the Rocky Horror Picture Show. And indeed it was this film that inspired the quote I chose:

‘Don’t dream it – be it!’, Richard O’Brien’s wise words of advice.

I had not told my boyfriend about this venture and so waited until the plaque was in place before revealing my seat, as it were! I thought he might think me foolish but in fact he commended me for taking action and even seemed a little disappointed that he didn’t have his own special seat too. Then it crossed my mind – what if others chose the seats next to mine? Where might he end up sitting?

‘And no more shall we part…’

I decided to rectify this and, unbeknown to him, I sponsored the seat to the left of mine in his name. I had the perfect occasion to present it to him but I would have to keep quiet for some time. Eventually February arrived and gradually the days slid by -  11, 12, 13, – until we finally reached that oddity of the calendar, February 29.

We had spent most of that particular 29th driving to Cornwall for a holiday in a remote cliff-top cottage with no electricity. Following a lengthy, tiring journey and negotiating our luggage across a field of cows – in the dark – we finally settled down for dinner. After the meal was over I casually reminded my beloved of the date, it being traditionally reserved for ladies to make marriage proposals. A worried look crept over his face as I got down on my bended knee and offered him an envelope. Inside was a picture of the Duke of York’s auditorium with ‘I am here’ and ‘You are here’ written above our respective seats. I humbly asked him,

“Will you sit next to me?”

To my relief, he accepted.

And I don’t have to share my cake with a stranger…

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