“You’re not listening to me.” Nate said. He was standing behind me as I sat at my desk typing away on my computer. I rolled my eyes at his comment. I was hearing him loud and clear and listening, too. I was just ignoring him.
“Riley?” he spoke again.
I hit “ctrl-s” on my keyboard and swiveled around in my chair. “You know, it’s really annoying to write when someone is standing directly over you reading over your shoulder and talking at the same time.”
“You know,” Nate mocked my tone, “it’s really annoying when you’re trying to talk to someone and they completely ignore you.”
“What do you want?” I groaned.
“Are you coming to bed anytime soon?” he asked.
I turned back around and looked at the time in the bottom right corner of my laptop screen. “It’s only 12:30.”
“In the morning,” Nate finished.
“Right,” I said nonchalantly. I didn’t understand what the problem was.
“So… It’s really late. You should come to bed and get some sleep.” Nate explained.
“I don’t need sleep right now. I need to keep working on this.” I said.
“Riley, tomorrow—well, today—is Wednesday. You have work.”
“What do you mean no? You’re a teacher.”
“I called out sick for tomorrow… Or today?” I replied suddenly confused with the date.
Nate scratched the top of his head. “Why did you call out sick? You’re not sick, you’re just writing.”
I turned back around in my chair and stood up. I took him by the hand and brought him over to the couch on the other side of the room. “Nate, let’s sit down and have a chat.”
Nate and I had just moved in together after being in a relationship for two years. Neither one of us were quite ready to get married, but we wanted to take our relationship to the next level, so we rented a two-bedroom apartment together.
He was nice enough to allow me to turn the second bedroom into an office for myself where I would be able to grade papers and work on my writing in peace. Well, except in the middle of the night, apparently.
Nate knew that my passion was to become a published author someday in the, hopefully, near future and he respected and supported that. He knew November was always a tricky month for the two of us to see each other. He had a lot of family events during the month as did I, plus the holiday at the end of the month. But I also had NaNoWriMo, which he never really knew about. Now that he was living with me, he was going to have to realize that he still wasn’t going to see me during the month of November.
“There’s a writing challenge during the month of November called National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.” I explained right after I pushed him down onto the couch.
He looked up at me standing before him. “NaNo-what?”
“You can just call it NaNo if you want. It’s a month-long writing challenge in November where people write 50,000 words of a brand new novel in the 30 days of the month.” I explained.
“Okay?” Nate agreed, but it came out as a question. I knew he was going to be confused regardless, but since it was going for one o’clock in the morning I didn’t expect him to fully comprehend what I was trying to explain to him.
“It’s a big deal and so many people all over the entire world participate in it. Some people take it seriously enough to start writing their novel right at midnight on November first. Hence, why I have a steaming cup of coffee on my desk next to my laptop in the middle of the night.” I said.
“And that’s why you called out for tomorrow? Because you knew you were going to be up most of the night?” Nate asked.
“I was planning on going to bed between one and two, but now I might be later because you interrupted me.” I sighed folded my arms across my chest.
I chuckled. “It’s okay. I don’t expect you to fully understand. Just know that it’s a writing thing and I need more support from you during this month than any of the other months I write.”
Nate nodded his head. “Okay.”
I smiled. He was the best guy ever, even though I could tell by his meek tone that he was still very much confused and had no idea what I was talking about or what I expected from him.
Nate stood up from the couch. “So, you’ll be in bed soon? Are you going to be doing this every night?”
I shook my head. “It’s just the kick-off for the month. I’ve never stayed up past midnight to begin writing early. I’ve always wanted to do it but never have because I’ve always had work the following morning. I just decided to throw caution to the wind and take the day off for tomorrow.” I grinned proud of what I was doing. I loved teaching, but writing was more serious to me. This was something I wanted to do all the time and I was glad I finally had the guts to put writing first, even though it was just calling out sick for one day.
“Okay, that sounds… uh, good, I guess.” Nate stood up from the couch and forced a smile. I smiled back at him. He was pretending to understand even though I knew that he had no idea. He was trying, though. And that was all I could ask from him.
“So I won’t wake you when I leave for work in the morning, then?” Nate asked.
I nodded. “Well, a goodbye kiss would still be nice. I don’t know if I’ll wake up from it, though.”
Nate kissed me on the cheek. “Goodnight, Riley.”
He left the room and I went back to my desk. I continued to write, my fingers flying across the keyboard. It was around two o’clock in the morning when I realized my eyes were beginning to droop, the screen became blurry with my sleepy eyes, and my fingers kept missing the correct letters and making typos all over my word document.
So, I went to bed.
I woke up around nine the following morning. I didn’t bother to get dressed or to even take a shower. I just went into my office and turned on my laptop to continue my new novel. While my computer booted up, I went into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee. Our two cats rubbed up against my legs as I filled up their food bowls. By the time they started eating, my coffee was ready. I filled up the biggest mug we had in our kitchen cabinets and then brought it back to my office.
I wrote for most of the day getting a good chunk of the 50,000 words done.
Nate came home from work around lunch time. He usually didn’t come home on his lunch break, so I was surprised when he walked through the door.
He walked into my office holding a large coffee in one hand and a box of doughnuts in the other. He put them down on my desk and gave me a quick kiss on the top of my head.
“Hey, what are you doing?” I asked, but I couldn’t help smiling.
“I Googled ‘how to take care of your girlfriend participating in NaNo-what’s-it,” Nate explained. “it said to give you space, lots of caffeine and sugar, encourage you when you reach certain word goals, and encourage you when you get behind on your word count.”
I chuckled. “Slow day at the office?” I took a sip of the freshly brewed coffee he had brought for me.
“Oh, it’s the worst day there.” Nate sighed. He smiled again and gave me a wave. “I ducked out to check up on you. The website also said that you might forget to shower or feed yourself.”
I rolled my eyes, but the grin never faded from my lips.
As Nate left, I realized that he still didn’t get NaNo. But he understood enough.