Walking Out

By Dane R. Rowley

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I should have had the lead in this movie, but my friend took that role.

“I feel uncomfortable; let’s get out of here,” Autumn whispered to me in the dark theater. I had never walked out of a movie before, and by normal standards, was this PG-13 movie that bad? Besides, we weren’t even 15 minutes into the show.

Two seats down, I could almost see our friend John rolling his eyes as he said, “Don’t be stupid. This is nothing!”

Autumn persisted, “Dane, this isn’t good; let’s leave.” What I should have done at that point is admit she was right and get up and walk out. Instead, I sat and thought about what to do. This had never happened to me before. I felt like everybody in the theater was watching me. They weren’t, of course, but two good friends were. John was planning on a mission. He was the one who chose the movie in the first place. If it were that offensive, wouldn’t he feel it too? I wondered what would happen to our friendship if I decided to walk out.

Then there was Autumn. We had been close friends for a few years, and I really didn’t want to offend her—not just because she was my friend and fairly sensitive, but at the time, she was also investigating the Church. I felt a bit guilty that she was the one asking to leave.

Autumn was right. The movie made us both feel uneasy, but she had been the one to speak up. Her quiet but firm resolve was admirable, even though it sent me packing for a guilt trip. The fact was I didn’t want to watch the movie either. As I continued to decide what to do, Autumn became more agitated. She then sent me an unforgettable look. I knew exactly what that look meant. It said, “Dane, you are one of my best friends, but with or without you, I’m leaving this movie!”

She didn’t care what others thought. Why should I? For all the right reasons, Autumn and I stood up and walked out of the movie theater. We walked right past John, and right past my notions that it is the member of the Church who always sets the example. It felt great. There was no regret, but so much more respect for Autumn, and for all those who stand up and walk out. I vowed never again to risk offending the Spirit for entertainment’s sake whether I was alone or with a friend.

Illustrated by Scott Greer