Home > F*ck Love(9)

F*ck Love(9)
Tarryn Fisher

Della claps her hands and takes a bacon-wrapped scallop off Kit’s tray. “Now I’ll never have to learn how to cook!” she says gleefully. “Kit can take care of it!”

I wonder when she ever had plans to learn how to cook. Especially since I’d been her official snack-maker since tenth grade.

“What’s for dinner?” I ask, sinking into the couch.

“Fish,” Kit says. “That I caught myself.”

I balk.

“Lovely,” I say. Then, “Neil, can you pour me more wine? That’s right. Fill it all the way to the top…”

It turns out that I can eat a lot more than I think, especially if it’s delicious as fuck. By the time we are finished with dinner, I can’t even stand up straight. Neil has fallen asleep with his head on the table, and Della is singing karaoke by herself in the bedroom. Kit leads me to the living room, suspiciously sober, and helps me onto the love seat.

“I’ll make some coffee,” he says, moving toward the kitchen.

“Did you lie about the coffee too?” I hiss. I cling to the cushions so I don’t roll off the couch.

He’s holding four wine glasses between his fingers. He stops to consider what I’ve said, and all I can think about is how he’s able to hold all four wine glasses without them slipping out of his hands.

“No. That was true. It’s probably why I started writing that book. I got addicted to coffee and stayed up all night. Thanks for that.”

I roll my eyes.

“Hey, I got you something.”

I make a face. “You got me something?”

“Yeah,” he says. “Hold on.”

He disappears into Della’s bedroom and comes out carrying a brown paper bag.

I take it from him, gingerly.

“What the what?” I say.

I reach into the bag and pull out a book.

“Drawing for beginners,” I read. My brain is a wine slushy, but the situation is still eerie enough to give me goose bumps.

“It’s a start,” he tells me. “If you’re going to doodle, you might as well learn how to do it really well.”

I swallow the lump in my throat. “Why did you choose this particular book?” I ask, looking up at him.

“There were lots of kinds,” he says. “But I thought you’d like the castles and unicorns.”

My heart does this racing thing. For the first time in days, I don’t think I’m crazy. I think everything is crazy. I’m trapped in a dream. The dream has invaded my world. What the hell?

I read the book Kit got me, then I text him to thank him. He plays it off like it was nothing. Typical. He has no idea how not nothing it was.

When are you going to let me read the book you’re writing?

His text comes back almost immediately.

K: Wow! You’d want to?

I roll onto my back, excited. Maybe reading his book would give me some kind of insight into who he is.

Of course! I love to read.

K: Okay, I’ll send it over. But I have to warn you, there aren’t any throbbing penises or heaving breasts in my book.

I drop the phone on my face before I can respond. I may have a black eye tomorrow, but also Kit’s unfinished manuscript.

What in the world would give you the impression I read that sort of thing?

K: I don’t know. It was a stupid thing to say. You’re way too uptight to appreciate a good fucking.

I frown. I don’t know if we are still kidding around, or if he really thinks that about me. It doesn’t really matter anyway. I’m a tiger in bed. Right out of one of my smutty novels with the embracing couples on the cover. That’s a lie, but only to myself.

After texting him my e-mail address, I pull out my sketchbook. It dawns on me that since my dream I’ve become obsessive about making it come true. At least portions of it. Why else would I sign up for art classes when I’ve never drawn a serious thing in my life? And what happens if I never get better at it? Does it mean my dream failed? Or I failed?

I don’t do anything that day but wait for Kit to send his manuscript. I should be looking for a job—a nice, cushy accounting job to rest my fat numbers brain on. I was top of my class at UM. There are already e-mails gathering in my account, so-and-so’s uncle who is looking for an accountant. My mom’s gynecologist who knows someone who is looking for an accountant. Even my uncle Chester is looking for an accountant for his snow cone business. All the free shaved ice I can eat.

I draw instead. Neptune looked at a tree I did last week and made a weird sound in the back of his throat. I’m no grunting expert, but it sounded like impressed approval to me. I’ve imitated that sound twice since then—once at a restaurant with Neil who asked me if I had something lodged in my throat, and once on the phone with my mother who wanted to bring me soup for the cold I was coming down with. Some people aren’t good with expressive communication. It’s not their fault. Finally, Kit sends me his novel. It appears in my inbox with the title: Doers Don’t Do. I have no idea what that means. But when I transfer it to my iPad, it’s only six chapters long. I’m disappointed. I was expecting War and Peace after all of the time he took off from Della. I settle down in my bed with a bag of cashews and my dream husband’s book. Not the husband of my dreams, just the one from my dream, I remind myself.

Kit’s story is about two boys who love the same girl. One of the boys is rash and impulsive; he enlists in the army and almost gets his arm blown off. The other is a librarian—deep thinking, kind of stalkerish. He stays in town to moon over the girl, Stephanie Brown. Who the hell names their character Stephanie Brown? Kit is who. Stephanie is lackluster. She has all the pretty things pretty girls have, but I can’t figure for the life of me why George or Denver would want her so badly. It will come, I think. Slowly, Kit will unfold the story, and the obsession, and in the end I would be madly in love with Stephanie Brown, too. I close out the document after chapter six and pull up my e-mail.

I want more.

I hit SEND. It doesn’t take him long to respond. I am in the middle of tossing cashews into the air and catching them in my mouth when I hear my e-mail ping. His response is enthusiastic and just one word.

Really!?

I like his use of an exclamation point and a question mark. It hits the spot.

Yes, I send back. Have you written past chapter six?

Almost immediately, there is a new file in my e-mail. Six more chapters! But they’ll have to wait. I have art class. I dress in all black to channel my inner artist and put my hair up in a bun. When I walk into class, Neptune nods at me. Everyone is taking me more seriously lately. I wonder if he nodded like that at Joan Mitchell when he was a young man. We are given reign of our own art today.

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