The Literary Girlfriend: The Shocking Conclusion!
Six months was a long time for a short-term relationship. When Daniella first moved into my apartment, I never believed we would have lasted six months. In that time, I paid all her bills, ran out of money, went to church to get her a rich husband, and finally became her “soul mate.” But this lawsuit against the church, it was a bridge too far. When I had said no, she’d flipped out and put a knife to my throat. That’s how Daniella handled conflict, go nuclear and worry about the fallout later.
Now my/our apartment was empty, her (stolen) furniture was in the moving van, and two brutes were waiting for her signal to leave. I had assumed that everything was over between us. I felt that gnawing in the pit of my stomach, but I had fought it. It was time for our relationship to be over. I’d just had an entire lonely night to think about it, and had resigned myself to it. I was okay with breaking up. But just when I thought Daniella was going to drive away, she had verbally blindsided me in the apartment complex parking lot.
“Aren’t you going to ask me to stay?” she had demanded.
I stood there, dumbfounded.
“Fight for me, Jimmy,” Daniella said. “You can still get me to come back to you.”
I wasn’t sure whom to fight. The moving guys?
“Tell me why you want me to stay,” she said.
I knew I shouldn’t ask her to come back. But that previous night, I had missed her, and it wasn’t just the affection. After six months, I was used to her next to me. I could wake up knowing that I could put my hand on her leg. I enjoyed hearing her curse if she was aroused too early. The warmth of her next to me, I couldn’t just let that go. She had become a part of me. When she called me her “soul mate,” I scoffed, but also thought it was true. For some reason, we had a connection, and I couldn’t figure out why. And despite her flaws (emotional, not physical), I was going to miss her.
“I know you still luuuuuvvvvv me,” Daniella said. “I can see it. I can feel it when I stand next you.”
She was right. Standing so close to me in her tight t-shirt and spandex, I couldn’t help checking her out, watching the way her clothes shifted with each movement. Even though she had been my girlfriend for six months, I felt a little guilty eyeing her like that.
Daniella looked up and sighed. “I told you for the last two months how I feel about you. Now it’s your turn.”
This was why she had stayed with me for six months when she could have been with a nicer-looking guy with a lot more money. Daniella knew she could manipulate me. She knew I’d fold like a page in a library book. Her former boyfriends had argued with her, called her names, emotionally abused her (that had probably gone both ways), but I had simply paid her bills until my money ran out. I had let her run the apartment. I had backed her up when she stole furniture. I had helped her sneak into a men’s room to watch a bunch of guys pee. With me, all she had to do was tell me to ask her to come back, and she knew I would.
“You have to promise to drop the lawsuit,” I said.
“Shit, you’re giving me conditions?”
“It’s the right thing to do,” I said.
“Shit,” she said. “But… okay.” She nodded and folded her arms.
“You still make me stammer,” I said, collecting my thoughts. I knew not to mention her appearance or the affection she gave me because any man could do that. I had to put my words together quickly.
“I’ve never had a soul mate before,” I said. “I… love how you can finish my sentences. I love how you can never open a book and still get away with pretending you’ve read it. I even love hearing you snore.”
“I don’t snore,” Daniella said.
“I love hearing you breathe heavily when you sleep. And maybe this is shallow of me, but every time I look at you, I notice something new. I want you to stay. I think you should stay. You might not love me. In fact, you’ll never love me. But I still feel something for you, Daniella, and maybe, you should stay, and we can work things out.”
Even though I felt my words were inadequate, Daniella grinned. I felt defeated and whipped. I knew I shouldn’t have asked for her back. I was weak when I needed to be strong. But then Daniella grabbed me by the waist and pulled me to her in a tight hug. I almost lost my balance, so I braced myself against a neighboring car. Daniella stood on the curb and kissed me quickly on the lips. Suddenly, I felt a lot better. It was this kind of emotional high, this was why I had asked her not to leave.
“Stay here,” she said and messed up my hair.
I watched as she strutted up the parking lot to her moving van. Even as my heart pounded hard in anticipation of our reunion, I wondered what I had just gotten myself back into. I was usually a long-term thinker, and I knew I had just made a boneheaded shortsighted decision. I might be happy for a few nights, a few weeks, but this kind of conflict was going to come up again, and we’d just have the same nuclear argument again. I had merely delayed the inevitable. I hated delaying the inevitable. I usually wanted to get the inevitable over with. But not with Daniella. When it came to me, Daniella was inevitable-proof.
I watched Daniella look at me while she talked to the moving van brutes. She pointed in my direction and nodded a couple times. One brute jumped into the van and another brute moved toward the back of the lot. Then the van slowly moved in reverse, with the brute in the back of the lot signaling directions, and they managed to turn without sideswiping any parked cars. Then the second brute jumped into the passenger side. Okay, I thought. They were bringing the van closer to the apartment to move the furniture back in. I wondered if I should help the brutes with the heavy stuff or if I should just stand and watch. I really didn’t want to do any heavy lifting, and they were getting paid, and it would serve one brute right for having given me a dirty look when I first entered the….
The moving van drove right past me and didn’t stop. I watched it move in slow motion, like a freight train without graffiti. I almost pitied them. Daniella was going to rip that driver a new one for leaving without permission, I thought, as the truck turned the corner and disappeared behind the set of trees bordering the apartment complex. Just as I turned, I realized Daniella was standing beside me.
“How are you going to tell them to come back?” I asked smugly. I was going to enjoy listening to that phone call.
“I’m not.” Her cheese-eating grin was especially wide.
“You’re… not bringing your stuff back?” That didn’t make sense. She hated my furniture.
“They’re taking my stuff to my new place.”
New place? “But… I thought…”
“I always wanted a good break up,” Daniella said and moved back, signaling that there would be no more touching. “I might not ever get another one.”
And then Daniella got inside her car.
“But… that’s it?” I asked.
“It’s not it,” she said, shutting the door. She rolled down the window. “I know your phone number.” She revved up the engine. “And I know where you live.”
We stared at each other as everything sunk in for me. She lingered and let the engine run. I don’t know if she enjoyed watching me suffer a little bit or if she was going to console me if I got too upset. I paced around her car. I knew there was no way to change her mind. I wasn’t sure if I wanted her to anyway, but everything had turned one way so quickly and then turned the other way even faster, and I wasn’t good at processing information. I needed something I could understand.
“You’re not going after Jerome, are you?” I asked.
It probably wasn’t my business anymore, but I still felt a tug of jealousy. When Daniella wore her thick, black glasses and carried around Jane Austen books, educated men fell for her hard. Jerome was infatuated with Daniella. She could wrap him around her finger if she wanted to.
“No,” Daniella said. “I wouldn’t do that to you.”
Maybe I should have thanked her. Instead, I caught a glimpse of the boxes in Daniella’s back seat, and I remembered.
“Be careful driving out,” I said. I meant it sincerely, but with my monotone voice, it probably came out as rude. “You might scrape bottom.”
“I never scrape bottom,” Daniella said. Her grin disappeared.
“That’s a lot of weight back there.”
“I said I never scrape bottom.”
Before I could answer back, Daniella pulled out and accelerated to the parking lot exit just to prove her point. But the pavement dipped just before the side street, and sure enough, the concrete scraped against something metal (maybe the muffler). The clang made Daniella slow down, and a car speeding down the street too fast slammed on the brakes with a screech and honked at her for blocking traffic with her slow right turn, and Daniella honked back in one long continuous blast, and the two drivers blew their horns at each other as they crawled down the street and out of my view. The last I saw, Daniella had an extended middle finger out the window, but I wasn’t sure if it was directed at me or at the driver of the other car. It might have been aimed at both of us.
But I didn’t think I deserved a middle finger. I had warned her about scraping bottom.
Mentally, I started kicking myself. After six months together, I couldn’t believe the last words I’d said to Daniella were “That’s a lot of weight back there.” And I couldn’t believe she had talked me into asking her to stay, and I’d fallen for it. It was probably good that she was leaving, but I still felt empty. I knew it would be a long time before I’d get another live-in girlfriend. And maybe Daniella had been right, not about fighting for her, but about fighting for stuff that I wanted. I tended to be passive when it came to relationships. I tended to let other guys be more aggressive and stand and watch, and thereby miss out on opportunities. Daniella had been with me for the wrong reasons (maybe?), but nobody else knew that. All my friends and acquaintances saw that I had been with a really hot girlfriend, an outgoing attractive woman who openly called me a stud and bragged about the way I…
“This place is empty,” my hairy neighbor said, standing at the open front door as I walked up the steps to my apartment. To this day, I can’t remember what my hairy neighbor’s name was. I might not have ever known.
“She moved out,” I said, as I stepped back into my apartment.
“I heard her call out your name from the balcony yesterday,” he said.
“Really?” I said.
“She sounded desperate,” my neighbor continued. “She was yelling for you to come back, that she didn’t mean what she did. She sounded… distraught.”
That surprised me. I couldn’t see her being that upset that I’d leave like that. And I couldn’t picture her staging a scene if she didn’t know she had an audience.
“I came out, asked her what was going on,” my neighbor said. “She told me to fuck off.”
“I’m sorry about that,” I said. I had to suppress a laugh. It would have been rude of me.
“She’s a wild one,” he said. “Never would have guessed that the first time I saw her. But she was crazy. I didn’t want to say that to you while you were together.”
“You think I’m lucky she moved out?” I asked, curious about his perspective.
“You might be lucky you’re still alive.”
“Yeah,” I said. And this was coming from a guy who didn’t even know about the knife.
Then as I approached my book shelf, I realized that my Frank Baum Wizard of Oz books were gone. Daniella had asked if she could take them, I had said no, and now the books were gone. I cursed, and my neighbor laughed, even though I never told him what I was cursing about. He knew it was about Daniella. She had taken all of her stolen furniture, and with it, she had stolen some books that were supposed to stay in my family. Part of me was just a little amused because it was typical Daniella, but it also pissed me off. She had stolen my books, and still she had manipulated me into asking her to come back. After this, I knew she wasn’t going to drop the lawsuit against the church. Despite my threat to tell on her, I was going to stay out of it. After all, she might cut me if I talked. But I could get my books back if I really wanted to. I would at least think about it. I knew where she worked.
“She took some of my books,” I said with a heavy sigh. “That’s what we had in common. We both like to read.”
“She didn’t strike me as the type to read,” my neighbor said. “No offense,” he added.
“She was full of surprises,” I said, not offended at all.
“You going to miss her?” he asked. I think he was just searching for words to break the silence.
Looking back, I wish that I had been stronger, that I hadn’t asked her to return. I’m not too hard on myself about that anymore, though. Everyone has their weaknesses. Superman had kryptonite, and I had Daniella. Superman never learned to stand up to kryptonite either; he had to spend his whole life/career avoiding it. Luckily, Daniella chose to use her charms on somebody else. To my credit, I never went looking for her. I didn’t stalk her. I didn’t call Linda for updates. I learned from my experience with Daniella and went on with my life. In fact, it was because of Daniella that I later met my wife, but I didn’t know that was going to happen then.
“Of course,” I said to my neighbor. “I’m going to miss her a lot. But I feel a little better knowing that sometime, somewhere, she’s going to make some rich guy really, really… really miserable.”
And I found out years later that I was right. But that’s a story for somebody else to tell.
To be contin… oh wait! That’s it!! But if you want more of “The Literary Girlfriend,” stay tuned for details of a brand new rewritten version in an all-new format.
Or if you want to read the blog version of “The Literary Girlfriend” from the beginning (it got kind of long), start here. Or click on “The Literary Girlfriend” category to select a chapter.