Never date a writer because she’ll fictionalize everything. She’ll write about things you have done to her, or things you never did for her. She’ll write about how you never bought her flowers. Not once. She’ll say in well-constructed prose how the whole time you were together, she never came home from a long week to see a vase full of roses, or daises, or anything.
She’ll describe times you embarrassed her, like at a party. It was her party because she was leaving for three months, and all her friends were there to see her off. People bought her champagne, which was never chilled, but you drank it anyway and that was after you had had whiskey. She’ll talk about how you played strip poker with others. And she walked in to see your clothes bunched up on the floor, next to smashed cigarette butts. She’ll say how she had to cover you with a coat because all her friends laughed about it, and so did you. Then she’ll describe how later, when she didn’t want to leave you and she wanted to be held, she heard you vomit in the bathroom. She’ll say how she had to make sure you were still alive and how she saw your face pressed against the toilet and how your legs shook on the tile. And she said your name and asked if you were okay and you just stared at her through half opened eyelids and looked away. She’ll say she couldn’t make love to you and she had to stay up and make coffee, before you took her to the airport.
She’ll continue this emphasis on what you had done to her, by describing things she had found, but said nothing about. Like when she opened your wallet to slide twenty dollars inside, because you had bought her dinner. She’ll say how she sat on the hardwood floor where the heat couldn’t reach and she shivered. She’ll explain the condom she found, and how it was lubricated and had small writing on the package she couldn’t see because her eyes watered. She’ll talk about the note she found from a girl she didn’t know but you did because in the scribbled handwriting she could make out your name. You were asleep on the bed and she was on the floor. She’ll tell the reader how she held her legs and tapped her chin against her knee. And she decided that it’s not wrong for men to have friends, because all men have friends, so she closed the wallet and slept without a blanket on the floor.
She’ll later describe the moment in the bedroom when she sat at the foot of the bed and you kneeled in front of her. She’ll give you short choppy dialogue, so that you sound distant. She’ll tell the reader how you said it’s not that you didn’t love her but you couldn’t be with her and that it’s more your fault than hers, except she’ll tell it much more compellingly. She’ll describe how she choked on her tears and tried not to vomit right in front of you. And how she looked at the poster on the wall, the one she bought for you and how the different colors turned together when you spoke. She’ll say how the bed you had brought from your place felt like steel and she couldn’t move because her legs were welded there and she could only listen to you and watch the colors of the room turn gray.
And she’ll send you a manuscript and you’ll be on the couch where you both had sat and you’ll read every word. You’ll notice she didn’t tell things, like the time you had to see her because she had been sick with the flu and unable to get out of bed. And you ran from the campus to her apartment to make sure she was okay. You ran in the dark and there was so much snow that your legs began to freeze. And she won’t tell the reader how you didn’t have gloves or good shoes and you couldn’t see the patch of ice and you slipped. She won’t tell them you slipped. You twisted your ankle and your face landed in a snow bank. She won’t describe the taste in your mouth, how you pulled yourself up and limped up to her apartment. You used the key she’d just given you and she won’t say how nice it was being able to enter unannounced. And she won’t say how good it was to see her asleep and that you kissed her on the top of her head and then staggered home. She won’t move into your head and explain how much you really loved her. How you almost started to cry when you walked. You shook from the wind but felt safe because she was.
You’ll sit alone on that couch where you made love to her and you won’t move and the glass of whiskey on the table will not be touched. You won’t get up to turn up the lights and you won’t get up to use the restroom even though you have to. You’ll sit in the dim of your living room. And you will read.