Simon had routines that could not be broken without great emotional angst on his part. By his own admission, no one could live with him—his daily habits were too rigid—a fact well known to his younger sister and best friend, Clare.
Clare was married to a NYSE stock broker with two young daughters. Simon, 32, had never married and, in fact, he hadn’t been on a date for over three years. Clare had plenty of married girlfriends, but only one, Shirley, a co-worker, who wasn’t married.
New Year’s Eve was an especially painful time for Clare when she would phone Simon to find out if he had special plans for the night. His response was always the same: “I’ll be watching ‘The Seventh Seal” in the safety of my living room.”
When she discovered, through office gossip, that Shirley rarely dated and that her idea of a good time was the watch a DVD of “The Apartment,” in her 800-square-foot studio, she thought she’d try to be a matchmaker.
She confronted Shirley at work. “We’re having my brother over for dinner tomorrow—he loves old movies—would you like to come?” Shirley hesitated but agreed.
She confronted Simon in the doorway. “We’re having a moviephile over for dinner tomorrow. Would you join us? You’ll like Shirley.”
“It’s meatloaf Tuesday tomorrow.”
“We’re having meatloaf—so you have to come.”
Simon hesitated, but agreed.
Shirley looked more like Simon’s sister than Clare who didn’t notice the resemblance until her brother and his blind date sat next to each other at the dinner table.
Shirley’s husband, Rex, proposed a toast. “To old movies.”
“With happy endings, “added Clare.
Four glasses clinked.
Shirley turned to Simon. “What’s your favorite film?
“Based on how many times I’ve watched it, “The Seventh Seal.”
Rex and Clare waited for a response, each leaning forward in case of a whisper.
Shirley smiled. “My brother worked on that movie.”
From that point on Simon and Shirley rarely looked at their hosts while they exchanged thoughts about a movie that Rex and Clare had never seen. A month later Simon and Shirley traveled to Sweden to visit her family.