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.

People on couch
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