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The Literary Girlfriend: A Perfect Place To End The Story

March 24, 2014

Literary Jane

When people talk about me behind my back, I don’t care.  I’m a quiet person, so I probably don’t get talked about that often, and even if I am being talked about, I’m not the kind of guy who’ll confront a person who talks about me, and I won’t yell stuff like, “If you have something to say about me, say it to my face!”  I’d rather somebody say something bad about me behind my back than to say it to my face.  If people talk about me behind my back, then I don’t have to deal with it.  If they say it to my face, then I have to respond, and I usually don’t like responding to people to their face(s).

According to Kirk, Daniella was saying stuff about me to a group of women in the next room.  We were at Jerome’s birthday party, and over a hundred people were in his house, and it was loud, and I was sitting watching a basketball game that I didn’t care about in a side room just so to get away from all the noise.  If anybody else had been talking about me, I wouldn’t have cared, but Daniella was my girlfriend, and things seemed to have been different recently.  She was acting more affectionate and didn’t seem to care about the money situation as much.  I didn’t know what was going on with her.  She said she was “feeling” me, and that’s a term that guys didn’t use back then (in the early 1990s), so I was a little confused.

I sighed after Kirk was done talking.  “Do I really want to know what she’s saying?”

“Yeah, you do!” Kirk said.  “Daniella’s been telling all the girls that…” He looked toward the other room where Daniella was still the center of attention. “She says… you’re a great… you’re the best…she’s ever… you know…”

Kirk looked around again and then shook his hips a little.  The women around Daniella cackled loudly again, but it wasn’t at Kirk.  “You know what I’m talking about.”

Kirk knew I was not comfortable having conversations about personal matters, so I just leaned forward in the sofa and pressed my fingers to my forehead.  At least Daniella was saying something nice about me, even though it probably wasn’t true.   Of all things, the double standard bothered me.   If I had complimented her about the same thing that she was praising me for, everybody would have thought I was inappropriate and vulgar.  I’d never even think about saying anything similar about Daniella.  I thought it, but I didn’t say it.  And I didn’t think she should say stuff like that about me, especially in public, especially around a bunch of my friends.

Plus, it was a lie, the idea of me being the best… I knew that wasn’t true.  Then again, I had no frame of reference.  I couldn’t really compare myself with other guys, or with her previous boyfriends.  There really was no way to verify that what Daniella was saying was true or false.  I couldn’t build a time machine and watch her with her ex-boyfriends.  That would have been gross.  And obsessive.  And probably an invasion of privacy.

“At least she’s talking you up,” Kirk said.  “I was worried about you when she watched all of us pee in the trough, but she’s a keeper.”

I really didn’t like Daniella talking about topics like that.  A part of me was tempted to grab Daniella and shout at her “WHAT ARE YOU THINKING???!!!” but that was a good way to get a beer bottled shattered on my head.  Plus, it would have been kind of abusive.  She’d already had a couple (that I knew about) abusive boyfriends.

Instead, I got up, went into the next room, scooted myself next to her, and linked an arm to hers.  The women around her looked me over and giggled.  I could feel my ears turn red.  I could barely talk to her over the music in the next room.

“Can we talk someplace quiet?” I said as loudly as I could without yelling.

“What?” Daniella shrieked directly in my ear.  Then she grinned, took my hand, and walked me out the front door.  Kirk nodded at me when we passed him.  It was much quieter outside.

“I’ve heard that you’re spreading vicious rumors about me,” I said in sing-song voice after we stepped outside.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she sing-songed back with her grin.

“You’re saying very… personal… things about me… us.”

“So?”

“It’s embarrassing.”

“Why?  You’re a stud.”

I laughed.  “You’re exaggerating, a lot.”

“No, I’m not.  That’s how I feel about you.”

“But…I…”

Daniella stood in front of me with her hands on her hips.  “You’re my man, and I can’t stand it when you put yourself down,” she said.

I stepped back.  “It’s called self-deprecation.”

“I don’t care.  Stop it.”  She pointed at Kirk through the open front window.  “He’s a piece of shit, and he never says anything bad about himself.  And all my old boyfriends, they’re all pieces of shit, all of them.”

She moved forward and kept talking. “So, from now on, I want you to stop putting yourself down.  I want you to walk around like you’ve got a big…”

“I know,” I said.  “I heard about what you told everybody.”

“Good,” she said.  The dispute was settled.  “I want to dance.”

She grabbed my hand again and led me inside to the living room in the back of the house.  The last time we’d danced was on New Year’s, and she’d worn a tight dress and rubbed herself all over me on the night club dance floor, while I’d clung to a beer bottle that I didn’t drink from and kept still with a blank expression on my face.  In Jerome’s house, there was no techno and hardly any R&B.  It was punk, new wave, and classic rock.  The Ramones were singing about beating a brat with a baseball bat (this was back in the early 1990s when people still listened to The Ramones), and a bunch of guys in their 20s and early 30s were jumping around swinging their elbows.  I could jump around and swing my elbows.  Daniella ran onto the floor in front of me and jumped around swinging her elbows.

The key to being a bad dancer is to not care that you’re a bad dancer.  That’s very logical, but self-consciousness is an irrational enemy that overcomes logic.  Even as Daniella jumped around, I wondered if others around me noticed how clumsy I looked.  Then Daniella pounced and stuffed her beret on top of my head.  She shook her whole body, and her long, dark hair flew around in all directions.  Nobody was going to think twice about my clumsy bouncing around while she was doing that.  Then she started swinging her two fists together in a baseball bat motion, and a bunch of other guys started up too. There were about 30 of us on a living room floor jumping around pretending to swing baseball bats.  I guess none of us liked kids.

When the next song came on (one I didn’t recognize), Daniella reached for the beret, but it fell and I caught it and gave it back.  We started jumping around swinging elbows, and I was feeling good.  I didn’t care if I looked stupid.  At that moment, I was a stud with a hot girlfriend, and a bunch of guys were jealous of me.  I could swing my elbows all I wanted, and nobody would care.  I was starting to understand why people liked jumping around and swinging their elbows.

Then my elbow cracked against something hard.  The jolt of pain shot up my arm, and I reflexively cradled my elbow and bent down.  Even in my pain, I noticed that everybody was staring at the floor behind me.  A woman curled on the floor, her hand over her face.  Her boyfriend and a couple other guys knelt beside her, asking her questions and trying to get a look at her face.  When she turned toward me, I saw blood cover her face.  Her boyfriend got up to fight me, but Jerome and Kirk held him back.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” I repeated all around me, while holding my elbow.

Even though Daniella’s head was down and her hair covered her face, I knew exactly what her expression was.

“I know it’s not funny,” Daniella said, trying to keep a straight face when she peeked up.  “But I’ve seen a lot of fights, and I never saw anybody go down that fast.”

As we watched the woman being carted off, I said, “That’s why I don’t dance.”

“It was her fault,” Daniella said.  “But I shouldn’t say that too loud.”

“I didn’t mean to…” I said to Daniella and anybody else who could hear me.  The music kept playing, but nobody was jumping around anymore.  “I didn’t know she was…”

“How’s your elbow?” Daniella grabbed my arm and twisted it in several directions.  “Does that hurt?”

It hurt a lot, but I didn’t want to yank my arm away from her, so I used it to pull her closer.  She took my arm and guided me to a dining room that was almost empty.  We could speak softly there.

“The next time you get into a fight…” she said quietly.

“I’ll use my elbows, I know.”

Daniella laughed.  “I’ve never had a boyfriend who finished my sentences.”

I thought about that.  We were starting to do that a lot, and I’d never noticed it until she mentioned it.

“I would tell you what I think it means, but you’d get mad,” Daniella said.  “I know you hate the word I’m thinking of.”

I didn’t know what she was talking about.  Daniella hated the word “love,” but it didn’t bug me.  I hated the word “share,” but I didn’t think it was the word Daniella was thinking of.  What word was she talking about?

“Soul mates?” Daniella said with hesitation.

I cringed.  I despised the term “soul mates.”  I didn’t even know I despised”soul mates” until she’d said it.

“I knew it!” she said.  “I knew you’d hate it.  And if I knew you hated it before you told me you hated it, that means we’re…”

“Don’t say it,” I said.  “I mean it.”

“Sssssoooouuuuuuulllllll mates,” she whispered.

I studied Daniella, with her thick, black glasses and her cheese-eating grin.  Then she bear-hugged me tightly around the waist and pushed us against a wall.  “I promise, I’ll never say that to you again.”

The way she’d bear-hugged me, the warmth of her body against mine, the way Jerome watched as us we thudded against his living room wall, I couldn’t believe how good I had it right then.  I’d never had it this good.  Even with my elbow still throbbing, it didn’t matter.  The beret tilted down on Daniella’s head at a sharp angle, pushing hair over her face, almost covering her smile.  Daniella was talking about me like I was stud, groping me in public.  No girlfriend had ever done that before.  I didn’t condone such behavior, but it was a great feeling.  And even though I hated the word “soul mate,” and thought the whole idea was ridiculous, if I had to have a soul mate, I was a lucky guy to be emotionally or spiritually connected to hot chick who could act cool, recite dirty limericks, make everybody think she’d read classic literature when she hadn’t.  Despite everything I knew about her, at that moment I believed we were going to be together for a while, and it was a great feeling.

This would have been a perfect place to end the story.

*****

To be continued in… The Literary Girlfriend: Proof of Relationship .

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

16 Comments
  1. Best “middle of the book” feeling I’ve encountered reading. Seriously, been reading this since the fifth one and I look forward to this each time, like a comic or a TV show. Keep em coming.

  2. Veronica permalink

    I read the title and was overcome with a sadness that the series was coming to an end. I was mentally preparing myself for an ending and end up with another cliff hanger. Now I’m conflicted! I’m not sure if I’m mad at you for making me think it was over or excited for the next installment…. maybe it’s a mix of both.

    • Well, I have to warn you that the series is finally winding down (if you still need to mentally prepare), but it’s not over yet. Not quite yet…

  3. Vicky Murphy permalink

    I’ve nominated you for the Leibster Award! http://vickyfindswork.wordpress.com/2014/03/25/the-liebster-award-1/

    • Thank you! That’s a lot of questions, and I don’t have answers for some of them yet (I’m not sure about my favorite sandwich filling, and I don’t know what an A&E is other than a cable channel. Is it an emergency room?). Heck, I’m not even sure what my favorite book is anymore (though I know it’s not The Great Gatsby or The Catcher in the Rye). I’ll have to think about that some more.

      • Vicky Murphy permalink

        You don’t have to answer the ones I did, just the ones I’ve suggested. Plus it’s totally up to you if you want to participate 🙂

  4. It really would have been a great place to end the story. I’m even tempted to stop reading it – but I just know the addiction to the story would be stronger. 🙂

  5. Yeah, it would be terrible to stop with a happy ending. 🙂

  6. Why do I just know there’s a “but” lingering after that last sentence? This is getting quite epic. I still remember the first episode, when he got her underwear in the laundry by mistake. A lot has happened since then. 🙂

  7. For a heartbeat I was heartbroken when I thought the story was over. Clever trick. I will be sad when you wind this up. For now, however, another excellent installment!

  8. annabelmcquade permalink

    I’ve only just come across this but so far I love it. 🙂 Will be doing my best to catch up.

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