The Book I Read
Katherine is having a difficult time finding love after many failed relationships. She is consistently disappointed by her romantic expectations which turn into impossibilities.
Katherine, recently turned twenty-two, shared the sentiments of many female writers– the love she had received was not the one she desired. Katherine believed in the meet-cute: an endearing moment that connected two strangers romantically. She believed that the meet-cute was a good omen and that everyone who was married had one. These romantic notions weren’t just ideas in her head, they sat next to her on every date. If she met someone on Tinder, the meet-cute standing to her right scowled the entire time, as if throwing a tantrum that would make a toddler proud. As her date talked about her profile and how clever his message to her was, the meet-cute would uproot any seeds of a budding romance. Katherine shared a dorm with her friend– Andie– who, unlike her, had a stable relationship. Andie and her boyfriend were a pair with lavender frills that did everything frightfully well for people so young and directionless. They’d been dating since their freshman year of high school. Katherine’s last “real” relationship had been the week Bobby Pinte dated her before the prom. Now a senior at FIT, her relationships never exceeded a sixth date. She felt that she lacked the resources to become more loving. When Katherine suffered from this realization, she deleted Tinder and a number of other dating profiles that Andie had created for her. Andie told her using dating apps wasn’t anything to be ashamed of, but Katherine was deeply ashamed all the same. Katherine was on the R train, making her way to Andie’s second engagement party; reading a book about a woman experiencing winter for the first time after moving out of California. From the corner of her eye, Katherine saw a man watching her. He wasn’t being discreet. He waved, smiled, and motioned for her to turn over the book to the author's biography page. His photo. She waved to him and smiled, he waved back without a smile but a rather serious expression and walked over. “What do you think?” he asked, gesturing to chapter seventy-nine. The man she’d written off as a creep was named James and he had a sister, on whom he’d based the main character on. She also found out he was less than a year older than her and was a “huge” romantic—his favorite movie had been Notting Hill until recently. “What’s your new favorite movie?” she asked, putting away the book, and smiled. “Fight Club. Why did you put it away?” he moved closer. “I thought we could talk about something else.” “We probably don’t have anything in common.” Six months later, Andie and her husband were on the 7 train to attend James and Katherine’s engagement party. Many of Katherine’s family and friends were there, while James had only invited his sister and publisher. Katherine’s great-aunt asked to hear about how the couple had first met. Katherine told her that’d met on the train while she was reading James’ book. “You’re probably the only one who’s ever read it,” her great-aunt said, while spilling the champagne. “That’s why we’re meant for each other”. Katherine approached Andie with two glasses of champagne, trying to avoid explaining young love to a woman of seventy-six. She heard the publisher ask James to tell him how he met Katherine. James’ story was completely unfamiliar to Katherine—he hadn’t bought her any tulips. Hearing James’ response, Katherine grabbed Andie’s hand. Andie explained to her that most married couples made up their meet-cutes, and laughed at her shock.
Katherine reminds me of many people, even those I don’t know. Katherine is against Tinder and other dating apps as a principle, but this story never explicitly bashes people for using it. I wanted to write this story using a male character searching for romance in a city, like Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother, but I found that Katherine worked for the story. I realized the story needed a female character when I read an essay explaining that male writers write about love from a place of having received it, and female writers write from desire and lack. Katherine embodies this desire and scarcity mindset in the first part of the story but finds fulfillment in her friendships and relationships.
Zuzanna Wasiluk grew up in Greenpoint and had multitudes of pets in her early childhood. However, she’s been reduced to two kittens at the moment, Cricket and Felix. She attends high school in Brooklyn, NY, and a Polish school in Greenpoint to connect to her roots. She enjoys creative writing and painting as personal hobbies and joined Girls Write Now to develop as a writer in a more comprehensive direction in an inclusive environment.