Read Dear Girls Above Me: Inspired by a True Story Online

Authors: Charles Mcdowell

Tags: #Non-Fiction, #Contemporary, #Biography, #Humour

Dear Girls Above Me: Inspired by a True Story (7 page)

BOOK: Dear Girls Above Me: Inspired by a True Story
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My cell phone buzzed. It was a text back from my aunt already.

I read the message out loud: “Honey, I’m in Arkansas, but don’t worry! I’m gonna call my friend Sherry who lives an hour from you and see if she can help out. Sit tight.” The girls fell on the floor laughing. I must admit, I found it rather funny myself. I couldn’t help but let out a chuckle in an Ebenezer Scrooge sort of way. The texting game was marvelously immature, but because all the girls found it so amusing, I found a soft spot for it.

“Do it again! Do it again!” The girls egged me on. Luckily, I was immune to peer pressure. I had already made it through the tyranny of high school and college having never smoked a cigarette or done drugs; this was going to be a piece of cake.

I shook my head. “Nope, I’m done.”

“Oh, come on! But you’re
so
good at it. Like honestly the best player ever,” Claire said to me.

All right, fine. Why not? I was practically a pro at this point. I whipped out my phone and began scrolling.

“Okay, the text is … ‘Are you as sweaty as I am right now?’ And … 
stop
,” they called out.
Bam!
Phil Salazar, my old violin teacher to whom I hadn’t spoken in at least eight years. No problem. And
sent
. I was on a roll.

“Next,” I barked out.

“ ‘Do you consider me a limber person?’ ” Claire said off the top of her head. “And,
stop
.” Jen Keeler. The hot mom who cuts my hair and sometimes trims my unibrow. I didn’t even hesitate. Boom.
SEND
. I was Michael Jordan and this was game six.

“Oh, I know! Text someone ‘I love you,’ ” Bridget said, challenging me. I’ll do that; no problem, I thought to myself. What’s the worst that can happen? If I land on someone I barely know, they will probably just think it was meant for someone else, and if I happen to land on my mother then it will make her entire month. A win-win situation. Weirdly enough, this was the most fun I had had in quite a while. So, I shuffled through the contacts once more until someone told me to stop. I let my thumb off of the scroller and looked down to see my next victim. Finally it settled.

My ex-girlfriend.

A powerful wave of sadness ran throughout my body. I could feel it in my fingers, my toes, my ankles, even my thigh muscles, pretty much anywhere that experiences feeling in the human body. The energy in the room shifted, and the girls could sense something was wrong. They didn’t pry or ask questions. We all just sat there in silence. It was beginning to get a bit awkward, considering I had only just met these girls. But somehow they could sense how uncomfortable I felt, again showing an acute awareness that was a stark contrast to who these girls turn into after midnight. But at this particular moment I had bigger fish to fry.

“You don’t have to send it. It’s just a silly game we play,” Claire said to make me feel better. And she did. But at this point I had become a devout player of the texting game and decided it was only right for me to be gallant and play by the rules we had established. I typed those three little words and felt the mechanical ball roll beneath my thumb. I pushed it. Message sent. In my head I tracked its journey into space, watched it very briefly ricochet off a satellite, then make its way back down to our planet and into her phone. I wondered where she was at that very moment. Did she look the same? Was she
still wearing that moisturizer that I didn’t like the smell of at first but grew to love? Maybe her new boyfriend was smelling it right now. Was she happy? I hoped not.

“I don’t remember your name, but I want you to know that you’re totally hot,” Bridget interjected in order to break up the pathetic reminiscing in my head. Clearly she had gotten past the sandals.

“Yeah, but you’d be way hotter if you shaved your beard,” Cathy said, weighing in with her two cents. The rest of them nodded, agreeing with her. So did the manifestation of my mother. I didn’t want to get into a discussion with strangers about my facial hair choices, so I just grinned.

“Thank you for an interesting afternoon. I’m sure I’ll see you around the apartment building,” I said to them as I headed for the door.

“Wait. We’re having a party tomorrow night, you should totally come!”

My brain frantically searched for the perfect excuse, but the pressure of sixteen eyes focused on me longingly made it difficult to assemble one. I started speaking before I had any idea what I was going to say. “Tomorrow night … is a night … and the weather is going to be … good … so … I’ll be there.” Damn it. Maybe I wasn’t as good at dodging peer pressure as I thought.

“And just so you know, the theme of the party is pastel-colored shirts, so wear your favorite one,” Claire said in full-on vocal-fry mode, which could only have been a result of the three bottles of Pinot they’d all drunk to kick off “Sunday Funday.” “We got the idea from
US Weekly
. Ryan Gosling has been wearing them a lot lately,” Cathy announced. Yup, the wine had turned them into the girls I knew them to be. Or maybe it was my Hall of Fame–worthy skills at the texting game. I won’t give the wine all the credit.

On my way out, I was reminded of the real reason I was there in the first place. Funny enough, Claire herself reminded me:

“Hey, are we ever too loud? Like you can’t hear us talking, can you?”

They couldn’t have made it any easier for me. It was as if they were psychic. They lobbed me the perfect pitch, and all I had to do was smack it out of the park. Now it was just like telling an old friend to politely keep it down. Every high-heeled stomp, sleepless night, mind-numbing pointless conversation, gone forever if I wanted them to be. All I had to do was say yes.

“No,” I replied.

Maybe I felt sorry and didn’t want to embarrass them? Maybe I was self-destructive and this was my form of “cutting.” Or maybe there was a smidgen of a possibility that I actually wanted to keep listening to the girls’ conversations.… Uh, doubt it. Regardless of my nonsensical reasoning, there was one thing that was for sure: At first, I’d entered the dragon’s den as a knight intending to behead the fire-breathing beast, but I may have left looking like the dragon’s gay bestie. Regardless of how you want to describe it, my new “roommates” were here to stay, and I had better get used to it.

THE GIRLS ON MOVIES
Dear Girls Above Me,
“Seeing
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
has made me wanna get a badass tattoo.” The Girl With the Star on Her Foot isn’t “badass.”
Dear Girls Above Me,
(Watching the
Hunger Games
trailer) “I play very different hunger games.” Yes, but anorexia doesn’t make for good cinema.
Dear Girls Above Me,
“There are these billboards everywhere saying the world’s coming to an end on Friday!” Does Harry Potter happen to be on them?
Dear Girls Above Me,
“No! The ‘which
Sex and the City
girl are you’ survey I took said I’m Samantha. I’m so a Carrie!” Don’t beat yourself up, I got Miranda.
Dear Girls Above Me,
“How do I vote for Best Actor? If Bieber doesn’t win for
Never Say Never
, I’m done with movies.” Oh God, please be done with movies.
Dear Girls Above Me,
Thanks for leaving on the DVD menu to
27 Dresses
while you’re out of town. I’ve been meaning to listen to that loop 5,473 times.
Dear Girls Above Me,
I know you “like seriously love black people movies,” but that doesn’t make you “practically besties with Precious.”
THEY WATCH SHARK WEEK
Dear Girls Above Me,
“Shark Week is over!? But it was only on for like a week! Oh, wait a minute—” Nope, you already said it out loud!
Dear Girls Above Me,
“It’s Shark Week
and
the gays can finally get married?! Best. Week. Ever.” I’m glad you got your priorities in order.

CHAPTER SEVEN

As I approached the door to my apartment with much trepidation, a hideous image flashed before my eyes. It was of Tania lying on my bed in the nude with Marvin and Penny by her side. In this fantasy nightmare from hell she looked at me and, in an awkwardly forced seductive whisper, said, “How about we show these pups who the real lovers are?” The imagery alone made me want to throw up a little bit in my mouth, but the audio I heard in my mind’s ear made me want to projectile-vomit. I listened for the chime of Penny’s collar but heard nothing. I knew I was in the clear.

I opened the door and found my sweet little Marvin standing eerily frozen directly in front of me, not even a wag of his curly tail. He looked up at me with his watery eyes with such sorrow. I couldn’t tell if he had been hysterically crying or if his eyes were just glossed over like those of a prison inmate who just got a new three-hundred-pound cell mate.

I distracted him with a treat, and he instantly forgave me. I wish humans would react as easily to such rewards. Can you imagine if
you were in a spousal quarrel, on the verge of splitting up with your partner forever, and all you had to do was pull out a Snausage? It would be incredible. Any pent-up anger would be forgotten and all focus would be put into the glorious Milk-Bone or Greenie. And once the treat had proven successful in domestic partnerships, the military would want to get in on it as well. The Israelis could lob Dentley’s Meaty Whole Femur Bones over the Palestine border, and the Palestinians could shoot Jakks Pets Wrizzles across Israel’s border, and
bam
, I just gave peace to the Middle East. Perhaps I should’ve been an army general. But I have a deviated septum, so, you know, boot camp would be a problem.

I sat down at my desk in hopes of actually getting some writing done. It’s just hard when the Internet has so many enticing popup ads, such as “Top Celebrity Beach Bods.” Even though I knew I shouldn’t click, I just got so much joy out of confirming that Matthew McConaughey was still number one. There are certain constants in life you don’t want to ever see change because you find them so refreshing. I just hope to be long in my grave the dark day he’s replaced by Channing Tatum.

But before I even allowed myself the chance to get Internet-distracted, I realized I was already reality-distracted. I looked down at my phone and was immediately reminded of the mortifying text I sent to my ex-girlfriend after falling victim to the girls above me’s texting game. I was curious if she was going to respond. And every second that ticked away lowered the likelihood that she’d text me back. Just like how the police say that after a kidnapping you have a two-day window to get your child back, and then each passing moment after increases the likelihood that you’ll never see your kid again.… Well, actually, I’m not sure if police say that; I’m just quoting Delroy Lindo from the movie
Ransom
. Regardless, she had yet
to respond to my text, and I wasn’t surprised in the slightest. She was the type of girl who never looked back once her mind had been made up. I wished I had known that a few weeks ago, before I had come up with the ingenious idea to write her this e-mail:

Subject: Food for thought …

I have emotionally accepted that we are over (although I still cradle hope); however, we should have sex a couple times a week to smooth out the transition, don’t you agree?

Her response:

Subject: RE: Food for thought …

Call a therapist, Charlie.

The worst part about the whole thing was I did end up consulting with a therapist, and was charged a hundred and fifty dollars for a diagnosis of “You shouldn’t have done that.” Then the therapist started blabbering on about how my act of desperation came from an unresolved experience I had during my youth, which most likely involved my parents or the jump rope. I wasn’t sure how asking my ex-girlfriend to have sex with me had something to do with my family, so I decided to take a break from professional healing for a while.

The time was six
P.M.
and I felt guilty for the wasted day. Then I started thinking about starving kids in Africa and felt guilty for feeling guilty. Then I thought about how I routinely put money in the Save Our African Children donation jar at Whole Foods and felt guilty for feeling guilty about feeling guilty. The liberal guilt went on
for a while until I felt a vibration from my phone buzzing. Followed by a double beep. An alert, not a ring. The
beep-beep
of an incoming text, for some reason, is more exciting than an actual call. I guess maybe it’s because our minds revel in all the thrilling possibilities of who it could be. Maybe it’s my ex? Does she still care enough to take the time to physically type out her thoughts on a smartphone? Hope …

Nope. It was from Phil Salazar, my old violin teacher. For a moment I wondered why in the world he was texting me, but then I remembered I had landed on him during the texting game and was forced to send, “Are you as sweaty as I am right now?” His response was, “Just got done restringing a viola, so, uh yeah, I believe that question answers itself. Any interest in playing again?” Playing again? I would hardly consider my violin career a success. Pretty much the only thing I learned was how to hold the violin under my chin without making myself look fat. And I’m already thin! What an appalling instrument. I politely told him no thanks because I’d taken up the gong.

BOOK: Dear Girls Above Me: Inspired by a True Story
3.75Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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