A Storyby Courtney Knowlton
Eleanor was the first normal person my brother, Nick, ever dated. His high school girlfriend had painted elaborate cat eyes on herself every day and talked only in a whisper. His first college girlfriend wore a fur vest to pick apples with our family the first time we met her, and always seemed to be giving a running narrative of everything she’d eaten that day or planned to eat the next or had proudly refrained from eating. Another girl, I think someone he met at a summer job, seemed to have no idea how to ask a question. I’d had numerous meals with her, and I don’t think she knew a single thing about me. I’d sort of given up hope that he’d ever date someone I might connect with and had become resigned to feeling unattractive and overly sensible around his girlfriends. When he told me he was dating someone from his swim team, though, I was slightly optimistic. If nothing else, we could talk about that. I’d been a college swimmer too. Back in a different lifetime.