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The Literary Girlfriend: Feeling You

March 16, 2014

Pride and Literacy

Daniella had a plan, but she wouldn’t tell me what the plan was.

That wasn’t fair, I thought.  I’ve always had a philosophical problem with people who tell you they have a plan but then won’t tell you what it is.  I understand not telling the plan if the reason is “a need to know basis, and you don’t need to know.”  I get that, but Daniella never said that.  She just grinned at me whenever I asked about her new plan.

Our original idea was to go to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, establish ourselves as a couple, and then break up.  Daniella would be the jilted girlfriend who had been betrayed, and some wealthy Episcopalian would take my place, marry her, and then Daniella would take all his money (probably through a messy divorce) and be financially stable the rest of her life.

What did I get out of this?  I got to live in sin with Daniella for a few more weeks.  It’s not that I wanted to break up with her.  When she put on her thick, black glasses and spoke softly, I could completely fall for her like that, but then she’d loudly curse out a mom in public, and the illusion would shatter.  I couldn’t live for long with someone who picked loud arguments in public.  I’d get stressed out too much.

“Why did you change your mind about the plan?” I asked after I realized Daniella wouldn’t reveal her plan.  She had ways of making me talk, but I couldn’t use her own tactics on her.

“Father Murdock,” Daniella said.  “He made me understand how important marriage is.”

I was a bit skeptical.

Daniella continued.  “He told me that if somebody isn’t ready to get married, it’s wrong to put pressure on him.”

I was tempted to laugh.  Father Murdock thought he was talking about me.

“You listened to a priest?” I said.

“He’s right,” Daniella said.  “Besides, marriage is years and years and years of work. I don’t want to waste years and years.”

“When did you talk to Father Murdock?”  I couldn’t remember ever seeing Daniella talk to him after church.  She was usually surrounded by women in the community center.

“I don’t know,” Daniella said.  “Maybe when you were in the bathroom.  He probably didn’t want to say anything about us while you were around.  He disapproves of you.”

He disapproved of us living in sin, I thought, and he probably blamed that on me.  It was tough to blame anything on Daniella when she was in librarian mode.

Once Daniella abandoned our original plan, her behavior changed.  She hugged me a lot.  She used her own money to pay for dinner at a couple nice restaurants.  She started talking about buying a house or a condo together.  Since I had used up all my savings paying her bills (and my brother’s debt), she would have to use her money as a down payment, and she was acting like she was okay with that.  That really threw me off.  But until she committed to using her own money, as far as I was concerned, it was just talk.

The whole idea of breaking up had been pushed aside just like that.  It made me uncomfortable.  When I had known we were going to break up, things were easy.  I could be a little detached.  I didn’t have to worry about her “crazy shit” behavior too much because the whole relationship (or whatever it was) would be short-term.  As long as Daniella didn’t put me in a life-threatening situation, I was fine, but now she wasn’t talking short-term.  When the relationship is no longer short-term, the “crazy shit” matters.

The shocker was when Daniella announced she was going to Jerome’s birthday party.  Why was this a big deal?  Jerome’s 30th celebration was on a Saturday, and Daniella never missed work on a Saturday night.  Never!  It was her biggest money maker.  If it had been my birthday party, maybe I wouldn’t have been surprised, but this was Jerome.  Daniella didn’t care about Jerome.  Why would Daniella be so eager to go to Jerome’s birthday party, I thought.  I wondered if she was trying to get close to Jerome.  Maybe he was her next target.  Maybe she was already seeing him behind my back.  But no, then she wouldn’t go to the birthday party.  Unless she was going to the birthday party to keep me from thinking that she was…

I was bring stupid.  Daniella wasn’t the type to cheat.  If she met another guy she liked, she’d break up with me clean.  I was pretty sure that was how she would handle it.  I’d come home from work one afternoon, and all the (stolen) furniture would be gone, and a note would be left on the kitchen counter.  Daniella prided herself on being monogamous.

Jerome’s 30th birthday party was typical Jerome, with more than a hundred people moving around his three-story house.  Food on the patio and in his kitchen and in his dining room, dancing in his high-ceilinged living room, kids running around in a couple game rooms upstairs.  The place was packed, the music was loud, I had to yell to talk in most rooms, and I felt myself getting annoyed.  I knew maybe ten people, and I never would have been invited if not for my best friend Kirk.    The last time we’d come to a Jerome party together, Daniella had gotten me drunk without me knowing it, and I’d caused a scene.  Now, I was getting annoyed, even without the help of booze.  It was tough for me to relax around large groups of people.

To make things worse, Kirk’s ex-girlfriend Linda showed up, wearing a tight mini-skirt and walking in with a tall brute of a guy.  She clung to the brute, kissed him hard in front of Kirk, and even danced slutty with him in Jerome’s living room.  Linda had never acted like that when she’d dated Kirk.  If she had, they might have still been dating, which was kind of the point, I guessed.  Kirk was pissed, so I had to act pissed with him.  It would have been wrong to act like I thought it was kind of funny, which it was, considering what Kirk had done immediately after their breakup.

“This is against the rules,” Kirk complained as we sat in a quieter side room watching a basketball game.  Football season was over, so we weren’t really paying attention to the game.  It was only basketball.  “Jerome was my friend, not hers.  She doesn’t get to show up to his parties anymore.”

“Did Jerome invite her?” I asked.

“He says he didn’t, but he’s too polite to ask her to leave.  What made her think this was okay?”

I leaned forward to look over at Daniella, who was talking to a tight circle of women in the next room.  They were all spellbound.  Then they all started cackling.  God knows what Daniella had said to them.

Mitchell, a guy I knew from previous Jerome parties, sat down next to me, head shaking.  “Your girlfriend is telling dirty limericks and saying that Sylvia Plath wrote them,” he said.  “A couple of those ditzes believe her.”

It was the beret, I thought.  Daniella wore a beret, and now people who didn’t know better thought she was a poet, or an expert on poetry.  I wondered if she had written her own limericks or gotten them out of a book.  I hadn’t seen any limerick books around the apartment.

“Isn’t the term ’dirty limerick’ redundant?” I asked.  “I thought limericks were supposed to be dirty.  If the limerick isn’t dirty, then you call it a clean limerick.”

Mitchell scooted away.  “Not this again.”

“It’s not like Frankenstein’s monster,” I said.  “I knew I was right about Frankenstein’s monster.  I’m not sure I’m right about the dirty limerick.”

“I hate basketball season,” Kirk said, trying to avoid another literary dispute.  “I want to like it.  I need something to get me to baseball season, but I just can’t get into it.”

The women in the other room cackled again.  The high-pitched noise grated on Kirk’s nerves, but since his ex-girlfriend was acting slutty around another guy, everything pissed him off.

“Don’t you want to hear her limericks?” Kirk asked.

“I live with her,” I said.

“Dirty limericks,” Kirk said as he got up.”  “I want to hear these.”   I hoped he wasn’t using this as an excuse to talk to Linda.  I wasn’t in the mood to be a witness to an uncomfortable situation.

After a minute or two of watching basketball (I didn’t hate it as much as Kirk did), Mitchell asked, “So you and that hot librarian are still going out.”

I nodded.

“How serious are you two?”  I thought Mitchell might be infatuated with Daniella, even though she had called him a douchebag at the Halloween party a few months earlier.  Jerome was infatuated with her too.  Both of them were probably hoping she’d break up with me.  Jerome would have a shot because he made a lot of money.  Mitchell had no chance.

“She’s talking about buying a condo with me,” I said, wondering why I was talking to Mitchell about Daniella.  “She says she feels me.  I guess that’s good.”

Mitchell laughed.  “If some broad told me that, I’d tell her to get lost.  But your girlfriend’s different.”

He was right about that, but I couldn’t say anything.  That was the problem with talking about Daniella.  They saw a cute girl with the beret and the thick glasses and the poetry.  They knew nothing about the topless dancing, the stolen furniture, the fights she picked, the plan to marry a rich guy and then take everything he had (even though the plan had apparently changed).  I couldn’t tell anybody about that.

“You look like a guy who wants to get married, settle down,” Mitchell said.  “If she feels you, if I was you, I’d feel her right back.”

The way he said it didn’t sound vulgar.

I noticed that the circle of women had gotten quiet.  That was weird because Daniella was still there, but was speaking very softly.  With the way all the women were hunched forward, it all looked conspiratorial.  Once again, I wondered what she was talking about.  She was a natural talker, but put her with a group of women, and she could get out of control.

A minute later, Kirk snuck back into our side room, whistling with a smirk.

“Jimmy,” Kirk said, his voice softer than usual, “you would not believe what Daniella is saying about you.”

*****

To be continued in… The Literary Girlfriend: A Perfect Place To End The Story .

If you want to read “The Literary Girlfriend” from the beginning (it’s gotten kind of long), start here.

8 Comments
  1. Veronica permalink

    You can’t stop there! Not cool…

    • I actually feel bad (just a little) about stopping there. This scene went longer than I thought it would (again!), and I needed a place to stop. I promise that you’ll find out what Daniella was saying about Jimmy.

  2. OHMYGOSH I finally catch up and THIS is where it stops?!?!? We need another one!!!!!! 😀 It’s addicting!!!!

  3. Haha, great ending. You’re the master of the cliffhanger. 🙂

  4. That was excellent, but once again with the killer cliffhanger! (Also, just so you know, one of your paragraphs, about 1/4 of the way down, begins “I was bring stupid.” It’s in the paragraph where you explain that Daniella isn’t the cheating type. Minor typo, but I thought you might want to fix it.) Love the story!

    • Aaaarrrgh! You know how many times I looked at that and didn’t see it? Ha ha! I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often. Thanks for pointing it out.

  5. I love the twists of this story! Keep it up!

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