We were disturbed.
Upon further thought, I asked The Hater what disturbed him more:
A. the pre-teen sucking her thumb to the hiltHis answer was D. But he was also disturbed that nobody had reinforced that thumb-sucking was something she should have quit doing ten years ago.
B. the pre-teen holding a plastic baby
C. the pre-teen making sure the plastic baby was draped in a blanket
D. the pre-teen holding said baby and sucking her thumb to the hilt at the same time
I was distubed that she was not only holding the doll, but she was also rocking back and forth with it, patting its back, and keeping the blanket over its shoulders. Why would a pre-teen carry a doll to the movies anyway? This doll appeared to be a well-loved treasure, not something new that you'd think she was proud to take out and display to the masses at the mall. And why was she coddling it?
We obviously didn't stop her and ask her these questions. We didn't even ask the adults with her. But we asked each other.
We wondered if she felt loved. We wondered if she thought that if she had a baby, someone would have to love her and depend on her. We wondered if the people who failed to teach her not to suck her thumb had picked up the slack and taught her, instead, that she was loved. That she could be successful. That the future was hers, and there would be time for babies later.
But we didn't actually ask them. Instead we stood back and made our own assumptions, painted our own story to justify the scene that truly disturbed us. We stood back and wondered if our visions really illustrated a torrential cycle ... or one of the many random pre-teen phases ... or something that had no deeper meaning at all.