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The Literary Girlfriend: Past Secrets

December 1, 2013

Literary Jane

When your girlfriend gets punched out by another guy, it can cause some issues.  For one thing, the girlfriend should never get punched out by a guy.  That’s understood.  But in this situation, I knew Danielle had done something to set up the violence.  She had managed to get herself alone in public (if that makes sense) with Vin, get decked by him when I wasn’t there, and then have the police show up at the Mexican restaurant within minutes.  Danielle could be vindictive, and she could plan stuff out.  She had intentionally kept me out of the restaurant when she confronted Vin.  What else had she set up? It wasn’t something I could just come right out and ask, especially since she had just been punched out.

As we got into the car, I asked, “Did you find your bag?”

Danielle peeked under the passenger seat.  “I guess I left it at the apartment.”  She saw my grimace.  “I just got knocked out, okay?  My memory is messed up.”

“You told me about the bag before you…”  I stopped.  It wasn’t that important.

Danielle was quiet for the first minute of the drive, but as soon as she saw an exit ramp for the freeway, she pointed to it.  Normally, the driver picked the route, but this was an unusual circumstance, so I just took the freeway.  Danielle rolled down the window all the way, so much so that the noise of the 65 mile-per-hour breeze prevented any talking. Danielle closed her eyes with a grin on her face.  Until I brought the car to a complete stop.

“No!” Danielle said, opening her eyes.  In front of her (or us) was a seemingly endless mass of cars come to a complete stop.

“I think there’s a wreck up ahead,” I said. It was a Sunday, and there weren’t any road construction signs.  I heard sirens in the distance.

“At least we know those aren’t for you,” I added.

Danielle reached for the radio, but I said, “I think it’s a good time to talk.”

Danielle closed her eyes and said, “Shit!”

“So, what really happened in there?” I asked.

“I have a headache,” Danielle whined.

“Then I won’t grope you when we get home.  Who was that Vin guy?”

She half shrugged.  “An asshole.”

I had that part figured out.

“I was trying to keep you out of this,” Danielle finally continued.  “You said you can’t handle crazy shit.”

I knew it. I had told Danielle a while ago that I wasn’t emotionally tough enough to handle any of her “crazy shit.”  So instead of having me by her side and dealing with Vin together, she had sent me outside so she could deal with him by herself.  She had to get punched in the head in order to get rid of Vin.  That was the kind of boyfriend I was to Danielle.  I could pay her bills, but I couldn’t stand by her during her “crazy shit.”  We both knew it, but this was the first time we’d really begun to talk about it since the furniture incident.  I didn’t want to admit that I was that kind of boyfriend, but I was.

“It’s not just me,” I said.  “You can’t keep putting yourself into these situations.”

“I know,” she said.  And then she turned and looked out the window at all of the unmoving cars.  We heard our first honk a few car lengths back.

“Vin was a friend of an ex-boyfriend,” Danielle finally said.  “This boyfriend hit me once, about a year ago.  That’s the kind of person he is, that Vin is too.  I got hit by another boyfriend in high school, and I never did anything about it, and it pissed me off for a long time, so when this boyfriend, Vin’s friend, hit me, I freaked out and got arrested. ”

‘You?”

“I hit him back.”  She paused.  “I smashed a bottle on his head and then stabbed him with the bottle neck.”

“Kind of bloody,” I said.  “But wasn’t it self-defense?”

“No,” she said, then hesitated.  “I had two guys holding him down when I hit him… and scratched him up.  And it was a few days later.”

“I guess that’s not self-defense,” I said.

“He started it,” she said slowly with an exaggerated southern drawl.

I laughed.  It was short, and I stopped myself, and I shouldn’t have done it, but I did.  Danielle was a badass.  She might have dressed like a librarian, but she was a badass at heart, and the idea of me living in sin with a badass who probably had a criminal record was…

“Shut up.  It’s not funny,” she said, exaggerating the motion of rubbing the icepack on her head.

“I know.”

“Stop laughing at me.”

“I will,” and I did, but she still fumed, and I couldn’t tell how serious she was.

“Vin blamed me for what happened.  Vin knows a lot of friends of mine… people that I know, anyway, maybe they’re not friends anymore.  I want them to leave us alone, but we’re going to run into them sometimes.”

“Let’s figure out another way to do this,” I said reluctantly.  I really hated some of that stuff from the other part of Danielle’s life, but I also hated that I was scared of it.  “It’s not fair that I have you do this alone.  I don’t know how to talk to people like Vin, but maybe… I should do more.”

“More than pay my bills?”  Danielle wasn’t grinning when she said it, and I remembered how I had spouted off about that when I’d been drunk at the Halloween party.

“Yeah.  Pay your bills and not let you get knocked around by other guys.”

“It’s not your fault,” Danielle said.  “I told Vin to go **** his mom.  I knew he was going to do something.”

With guys like Vin, if you put the words “mom” and “****” in the same sentence, you’re going to start a fistfight, even if it’s with a girl.

“Are you serious?”

“That’s the part I didn’t tell the cops,” Danielle said.  “And now he’s in jail, and we’ll make sure he’s prosecuted to the … full… something of the law.  And word will get out to leave us alone.”

Traffic was starting to move, but not enough to kill conversation with the windows open.

“You know what would make me feel better?” Danielle said.  “Tell me what happened the first time you got drunk.”

Before Danielle spiked my drink at the Halloween party, I had only been drunk once, and I had never told anybody what had happened.  It was embarrassing.  I cringed every time I thought about it.

“Okay,” I said.  I didn’t want to do it, but since Danielle had gotten punched in the head and had shared some information about her past with me, maybe we were past keeping secrets from each other.

“I was at a toga party in a frat house,” I said. “I don’t know what I was thinking.  I was drunk and being an asshole, I guess.  I stripped down to my underwear, wrapped a bed sheet around me without anybody’s permission, and climbed onto the roof, and shouted ‘I am Spartacus!’ about fifty times, and then cussed out everybody because they didn’t laugh.  I’m lucky I didn’t fall off the roof, and I’m lucky I didn’t get punched out.”

“That’s your secret?” Danielle said.

I shrugged.  “If you’d been there, you would have smashed a bottle on my head.”

Danielle was quiet for a moment and then said, “Can I ask you something?”

I was expecting the worst.  Her tone was serious, and it had been a serious day.  I could see her asking some deep question because I had asked her questions that stirred stuff up, and it would have served me right for bringing all this “crazy shit” up when she had simply wanted to have the breeze in her face on the way home. I still had a lot of questions for Danielle too.  I wanted to know more about the stolen furniture, about why she spiked my drinks at the Halloween party, and I really wanted to know more about her job at Nero’s.  If I was going to get her to talk more about the other part of her life, I’d have to answer her own serious questions about me.

“Sure,” I said reluctantly.

Danielle sat up, put down her icepack and said, “Who is Spartacus?”

*****

To be continued in… The Literary Girlfriend: A Conversation Between Two Women That Has Nothing To Do With Men Or Relationships .

And to read “The Literary Girlfriend” from the beginning, start here.

2 Comments
  1. Ha….. Great setup for the ‘who is Spartacus’ line at the end!!

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