Shawn and I clinked glasses. “To dragons and swords,” I said.
“Speaking of which, where is Kimb?” asked Shawn, looking at his watch.
“She’ll be here soon,” I said. “But for now, let’s relax and catch up. David, this is delicious. What’s in it again?”
“Prosecco, St. Germaine, and a twist of lemon,” David said. He followed Shawn’s gaze to the window and then looked back at me. “How long is the show?”
“It’s usually 54 minutes, but this one has an extra 10.”
“No way. I didn’t know that,” Shawn said with a gleam in his eye.
“Yeah, they’re introducing characters for next season.”
“So, about an hour?” David’s tone had a note of agitation.
I nodded. “So, while Shawn and I geek out over dragons and boobies, you and Kimberly are going over to the Regal Beagle, yeah? That’ll be fun, right?” I knew David liked talking to Kimberly, but I wanted him to show some excitement. If I was going to relax, I needed to make sure he’d be having as much fun drinking beer with Kimb as I’d be having watching Game of Thrones with her husband.
David and I make an atypical couple. I’m not talking about our kinkiness — that’s actually pretty common. I’m referring to what my father has endearingly dubbed our “lesbian-ness,” by which he means the extraordinary amount of time my partner and I spend together. For eight years we’ve both worked from home; now that we’re in a smaller apartment, we share the same cramped home office/den/TV room. We go to the gym together, share every meal, and conjointly run errands such as grocery shopping and getting the mail. It’s not unusual for David to stand in the bathroom and talk to me while I’m taking a shower or vice versa.
But for all of our (what some might say “excessive”) togetherness, there is one interest we do not share — a vice that is my own: zombie/vampire/fantasy dramas. I’m a sucker for True Blood, a mindless dope for the Walking Dead, and a fiery-eyed freak for Game of Thrones. These productions delight me, but David wants nothing to do with them. He refers to my precious programs as, “Those shows in which everyone’s always screaming.”
“But they’re so well-written,” I used to argue before I realized my efforts were futile. “It’s Machiavellian shit — true characters being revealed by the choices they make under pressure.”
“Not to mention dragons,” David quipped.
“Okay, fine, I dig dragons, but that’s such a small part of the overall story — it’s courage and weakness and greed and redemption; it’s downright Shakespearean!” Despite my descriptions, David remains unconvinced. To this day, he has resisted watching even a trailer of any of my beloved shows.
When Kimb pulled up, I did my best to convey that the eagerness I felt was for the episode that had been waiting for me on my DVR, rather than the impending temporary separation from my man. To remind David of my obsession with the show, I picked up my Evil Hello Kitty bedazzled iPhone and played my ring tone for Shawn — the Game of Thrones theme song.
Like a junkie with a stash on hand, it was an effort to wait a week for a time that was convenient for Shawn to watch the season’s final episode. Kimberly, like David, has no interest in watching the medieval fantasy drama.
I’m accustomed to grabbing my fix when I can, which is usually during the day, when David is working on photos in his studio. There was a time I would pack up my laptop and tag along, but he needs quiet when he’s being creative, and I’m the opposite of quiet. It hasn’t helped my case that, on the few occasions David returned home to find me watching one of my shows, he always managed to walk in during a particularly gory or raunchy scene.
“So, that’s why you watch this,” he’d say.
“No, you don’t... Come on, that’s no fair, this is just one scene! They’re not always [insert gore/nudity description here], it’s mostly about the characters.”
“Right,” David would call out on his way to some place in our home that’s out of earshot.
Over time, the shame I came to feel for my vice only added to the enjoyment I got from watching, as if it were one of those naughty habits people relish in private, like singing in your car or biting your toenails. Things you only indulge in freely when no one else is around.
Which is why it was so strange to have someone else in the room when I finally got to hit “play” on the season-two finale of Game of Thrones. After four seasons of True Blood and two seasons of GoT and Walking Dead, I’d grown accustomed to watching my zombie/vampire/fantasy dramas in private. The solitude freed me to become fully engrossed in the make-believe world on the screen.
With my friend in the room, I was suddenly self-conscious. One scene in particular demonstrated my developing love/hate feelings for sharing my vice. In the scene, a female knight eviscerates an evil man and punctuates the final thrust of her sword with an excellent quip. It was such a cool moment that Shawn and I both exclaimed incoherently and high-fived over the small wooden stump on which our drinks sat. But then Shawn said, “Wanna see it again?”
I froze. “No,” I said. “I mean, I’m sorry, but...” I paused the program. “I can’t go back and rewatch a scene when I’m in the show. It, like, disrupts the flow for me, I’m so sorry.”
“No, it’s cool. Don’t worry about it,” he said. And though I knew he meant it, I felt bad. But not bad enough to rewind and rewatch the scene, no matter how over-the-top wicked it was. Shawn’s the kind of analytical geek who will watch the same sequence a dozen times, frame by frame. I’m more of a nerdy fan-girl who prefers to “take it in” and relive the scenes later in my head.
It was nice to have someone with whom to share my passion, but I was bummed it wasn’t David.
“I wish you liked my shows,” I said to my love as we shed our clothes and snuggled under the comforter on our bed.
“I wish I liked them, too,” David said. And I knew he meant it.