The Literary Girlfriend: The Montage
As the first week of our relationship (or whatever it was) progressed, Danielle and I formed a routine. Even though most people think routines are boring, I’ve always liked the predictable nature of them. Knowing what the day had in store for me gave me a sense of confidence, and as unpredictable as Danielle could be, even she seemed to settle into a routine for herself.
Every morning, I got up while Danielle slept in. I worked from 8:00 to 5:00, and she danced a lunch shift for a few hours until maybe 2:00. She could usually convince a guy during her shift to buy her a meal (I wasn’t wild about that part of her job, but I guess she needed to eat). She’d hang around the apartment until I got home, and then we’d go out for a quick dinner. Danielle would leave for work around 8:00, and I’d go to bed. Then I’d sleep until about 2:00, get up, and then pretend to be asleep waiting up for her on the couch. Danielle thought it was cute that I tried to wait up for her. She would take her bath (I was never invited), and we’d fall asleep sometime around 4:00, and then I’d get up at 6:00 while she slept in.
I enjoyed living in sin with Danielle, especially since I had never lived in sin with a woman (or anybody) before. I had committed sin (if that’s how you look at it), but I had never lived in sin. In fact, I had never committed that much sin (if that’s how you look at it) so frequently and so consistently in all of my life. I didn’t really look at it as sin. I looked at it with more of a “It’s about time!” attitude. Things were moving more quickly than I was usually comfortable with, but my enjoyment of living in sin overrode my normal caution.
Despite our routine and our living in sin, I was still paranoid. I had a fear of what Danielle had called “crazy shit” in her life. Danielle hadn’t told me what that “crazy shit” was, and I had an active imagination, so every night when Danielle left for work, I deadbolted the door from the inside so that she (and any “crazy shit” friends she might have with her) couldn’t get in, even with her key. I knew I was running the risk of pissing off Danielle if she ever returned home early or if I overslept, and I really didn’t want her to know I was paranoid, but I could always say that securing the deadbolt was a habit. Even though she would have been pissed, Danielle would believe it. She knew I was a man of habits. She might not have known that I was paranoid.
There were some unanswered questions with Danielle, some of which might have been related to her “crazy shit.” When we had met in the laundry room, she had been living with somebody, but she wouldn’t tell me anything about this roommate, male or female, platonic or romantic. She wouldn’t tell me why she had moved out. She didn’t tell me why she had switched from a red sports car to a black sports car (but that was my fault because I had never asked). I thought it was weird how we had just happened to meet in the library that day. When I thought about her job, I thought of a lot more questions, but a part of me (the part that liked living in sin) refused to dwell too much on those questions.
As proud as I was to have a hot live-in girlfriend, I hadn’t told any of my friends about her. They knew about the hot chick that I met in the laundry room. They knew about the panties. I hadn’t told them about meeting her again in the library, or going on a date, or living in sin with her. My plan was to keep Danielle separate from the hot chick in the laundry room. Everybody thought the hot chick in the laundry room had been weird. Danielle didn’t come across as weird when she wore the glasses and ordinary clothes. My friends would be surprised that I had a live-in girlfriend, but they didn’t need to know she was the woman I had met in the laundry room.
On the Thursday evening of our first week together, we went out for a quick meal after I returned home from work. A cold front had finally moved in, so Danielle grabbed her badass leather jacket, which contradicted her otherwise literary appearance: thick glasses, hair pulled back, and my paperback copy of Sense and Sensibility.
“You’re wearing that?” I asked, pointing to the leather jacket.
Danielle suddenly got defensive. “What’s wrong with it?”
“It’s badass,” I said. “Your badass jacket overpowers your literary look. It’ll confuse people.”
“Does it confuse you?” Danielle asked, hand on hip.
“I can be badass and literary,” Danielle said. “I think I’ll put on black heels too.”
But she didn’t. Danielle clutched the novel as we left our apartment. “I think I’m going to get some trashy romance books the next time we go to the library.”
“You’re not going to finish that?” I said, pointing to Sense and Sensibility.
Danielle made a fart sound with her lips and hit my shoulder with the book. “I want a trashy romance.”
“With a long-haired hunk on the cover.”
“No, a short-haired lean, mean hunk,” she said. “But people won’t think I’m smart if I carry a trashy romance around. So I’m stuck with this when we go out.” She held up Sense and Sensibility and flashed an open-mouthed goofy smile.
It was moments like this that made me appreciate Danielle.
Every romantic comedy seems to have a montage where the couple enjoys a series of happy snapshot scenes together. The couple holds hands, walks in the park, or goes to museums. The montage has numerous quick amusing scenes set to bouncy music of the time period. Our routine that first week was our montage. Danielle and I were having our series of happy moments in our fledgling relationship.
But in every romantic comedy, the montage is brief. And after the montage, there’s always a challenge (or a bunch of challenges) that threaten to destroy the relationship. In the movies the couple can usually overcome those challenges and make their relationship even stronger. In real life, however, these challenges usually crush the relationship. I knew those challenges were coming, but I wasn’t sure what those challenges would be. I just knew that they were approaching.
To be continued in… The Literary Girlfriend: The Bluff.
And to read “The Literary Girlfriend” from the beginning, start here.