The Literary Girlfriend: Football Season
This is the part of the story that some authors (and readers) might be tempted to skip. Nothing really happens in this part. Danielle (the hot chick in the clingy t-shirt) doesn’t make an appearance in this episode. I think about her a little. I mention her to some friends. But as far as plot goes, nothing happens.
Some authors say that if a scene doesn’t move the plot, skip it. I don’t always agree. Sometimes the author needs to establish a character’s state of being or state of mind. And this segment shows my state of being when I was 25 over 20 years ago. This is the kind of stuff that happened when nothing much was happening in my life.
Plus I need to introduce a couple people that affect the story later on.
I was at a college football game with my friend Kirk and his girlfriend Linda on a Saturday afternoon. We weren’t in college anymore, and the two teams playing weren’t very good, but the tickets were cheap, and it was a cloudy breezy day, so it was a perfect time for a pale guy like me to be outside. The stadium wasn’t crowded, so spectators were spread out all over the place, and it was easy to find three empty spots near the sidelines. Kirk sat between Linda and me, which made sense because I had only met her a couple times.
During the game, I told Kirk about meeting Danielle in the laundry room, how we had shared a dryer, how she had left panties in my laundry, and how she (for some reason) came up to my apartment to retrieve them. I shouldn’t have told him about Danielle. Nothing good comes from an unintentionally celibate guy (like me) telling a charmingly loud guy (like Kirk) about a hot chick in a clingy t-shirt when nothing happened.
“Let me get this straight,” Kirk said. “She left her panties in your laundry. She invited herself to your apartment. And she followed you to your bedroom. And you didn’t sleep with her? ”
“That’s a fairly accurate summary,” I admitted.
“She gift-wrapped herself for you,” Kirk said, putting his finished beer underneath his seat. “What more do you need? Her getting on her knees and…”
“Kirk, stop it,” Linda finally said and then leaned forward to talk to me. “She asked you to share your dryer with her?”
“That’s weird,” she said. “And I can’t believe she went up to your apartment. A woman shouldn’t take chances like that. She probably thought you were harmless, but still…”
I sat back and grimaced. Harmless.
“What’s weird about asking him to share a dryer?” Kirk asked his girlfriend. “If you were in a hurry, and that was the only dryer, what would you do?”
“Let the clothes stay wet and come back later.”
“What if you had to wear them right then?”
“She wasn’t wearing a bra in public,” Linda said. “That’s weird too.”
“That only happened once,” I said in Danielle’s defense. “The second time she came down, she was wearing one.”
“But why would she go to Jimmy’s apartment?” Kirk asked Linda.
“I don’t know,” Linda said. “I wouldn’t have put myself in that situation.”
“That’s because you’re sensible,” Kirk said with a hint of sarcasm, and then turned to me. “She still lives with her parents.” That was one reason Linda wouldn’t spend the night with Kirk yet, and he rolled his eyes a little. He really wanted her to spend the night with him. She was blonde, and he couldn’t resist blondes.
Linda whispered something in Kirk’s ear (I have no idea what she said), and he shut up for a minute or two.
“Alright,” Kirk finally said, getting up. “I gotta use the bathroom.” As we both got up so he could get to the aisle, he asked, “You want a soda?”
“Yeah, thanks.” Kirk had many faults, but I knew he’d wash his hands after using the facilities.
“I was asking Linda,” Kirk said, shaking his head as he passed me.
Even with a gap between us, Linda shifted her knees away from me. That was unnecessary. It wasn’t like I was going to proposition her. She was my friend’s girlfriend. A woman that liked Kirk wasn’t going to be interested in me anyway, even if the woman was smart and educated. I knew that. I took her shifting of the knees as an insult, so I didn’t even attempt conversation, which was fine because I wanted to watch the game.
The home team had a 3rd and 1 near midfield, but instead of running the ball, the quarterback faked a handoff, stood in the pocket, and overthrew the tight end who was wide open 30 yards downfield. The crowd booed. The tight end pitched his helmet onto a bench and yelled, probably at the quarterback, who was shaking his head a few yards away.
“Why did we throw the ball like that?” Linda asked.
I pretended not to hear for a second or two before I faced her. “The defense put everybody on the line of scrimmage to stop a running play, so our tight end was able to run out there uncovered. We should have gotten a touchdown out of that.”
Linda smiled at me, but her knees didn’t move, so we sat there and pretended to watch as the home team punted. I actually watched. I think Linda pretended.
When Kirk sat back down and handed each of us a soda, the score was still the same, but the other team had the ball around midfield. I expected Kirk to ask what had happened.
“Nurse your drink,” Kirk said. “This place has communals.”
I grunted as I sipped my soft drink instead of gulping it. If the stadium had communals, I probably wouldn’t use any facilities until we left the game.
“What did you say?” Linda asked.
Kirk turned to me. “You wanna tell her what a communal is? If she gets grossed out, I want her blame you, not me.”
I leaned forward. “It’s a long metal tub where guys stand shoulder to shoulder and relieve themselves.”
“What’s so bad about that?” Linda asked.
“Stage fright,” Kirk said. “Him, not me.”
“I’m not explaining stage fright to her,” I said to Kirk.
But Linda wasn’t interested. She gripped her soda cup and stared at the game.
Kirk leaned in my direction and talked quietly. “Hey, next time some braless chick comes to your apartment, ask her if she wants a drink.”
I was still thinking about how to explain stage fright (if I ever needed to), so it took a moment to realize what Kirk was talking about. Linda didn’t seem to be paying attention anymore.
“You need some good wine,” Kirk continued in a hushed voice. “Wine is like a condom. You don’t always need it, but it’s good to have around. Then you tell her to sit down and relax.”
“I don’t drink.”
“Braless chicks do,” Kirk said. “If you don’t get your act together, you’re always gonna be stuck with the skinny chicks who read a lot.”
“I like skinny chicks who read a lot,” I said.
“I’m a skinny chick who reads a lot,” Linda said. I guess she was paying attention after all.
“You’re not…” Kirk cleared his throat and raised his voice before Linda could respond. “You’re better than skinny.”
“I’d like to read right now,” she said. “I should have brought a book.”
“You don’t bring books to football games,” Kirk said. “Just like I don’t take a radio to the art exhibits.”
“Art exhibits,” I said, with a short laugh. I might have been single, but it was fall, and I could watch a football game whenever I felt like it. Now that Kirk was back, he could deal with the uninterested girlfriend. Football season was a great time to be single.
Despite my bravado, it sucked to be single at 25, even during football season, especially with a friend in a relationship. Even though Kirk was in a weird relationship, I was jealous. I was pretty sure that Kirk was never going to have his intimate moment with Linda. Kirk took Linda’s resistance as a challenge, and I think Linda was just seeing how long Kirk would go out with her before giving her the ultimatum. It was a bizarre reason to have a relationship, to see whose will would break first. But in a few days I was going to get into my own weird relationship. I just didn’t know it yet.
To be continued in… The Literary Girlfriend: Bad Library Behavior and Danielle makes her dramatic return!!
To read “The Literary Girlfriend” from the beginning, start here.