Catherine Woulfe experiences love at first bite and finds something she can sink her teeth into.
The Video Ezy guy raises his eyebrows when he sees my stack of DVDs. 27 Dresses. Definitely, Maybe. Twilight.
"Lame, I know," I say. He shrugs.
"Sometimes lame is good."
I come home to a dark house, put my track pants on and slice potatoes for wedges, half-watching the opening scenes of Twilight. I am prepared for it to be moronic. I have a bottle of feijoa wine to get me through.
I haven't read the books, although the world has gone mental for them. Tonight I plan to sit back, watch from an intellectual distance, and scoff at the silly high school vampire story.
Edward Cullen appears on screen at nine minutes 20 seconds. I shove the wedges in the oven, drift out from behind the kitchen bench and perch on the couch, arms wrapped around my knees. Thirty-one minutes later, Bella and Edward are on their first date. She orders mushroom ravioli. He says the word "sex". Twice.
I move off the couch and sit cross-legged on the mat, close to the TV, a child listening to the teacher. I feel like I've been shunted, still awake, into one of my own dreams. One of those weird, upsetting dreams that leaves you with an emotional hangover, even though you don't remember the detail. I am fixated. I am stoned on
Twilight. I never want this movie to end. And I'm not quite sure why.
The smoke alarm goes off. I push pause and use a broom to knock the smoke alarm down. I burned wedges? I never burn wedges.
My boyfriend gets home and crashes into bed.
"So I watched Twilight," I say, hesitantly, like I'm telling him I found God while he was at work.
"Gay," he says, and goes to sleep.
Whitcoulls has two floor-to-ceiling shelves dedicated to Twilight. The first three books set me back almost $100. I decide I can't justify another $47 for the fourth book, which is still in hardback.
The woman who serves me can barely contain her loathing.
"Lame, huh?" I say.
"Yes," she says, and sighs as she stacks the books in a bag.
The bag bumps against my legs as I walk from the mall. I am very happy. In the car I take out Twilight and read it on my lap during red lights.
I am two chapters into the second book, New Moon.
I have it at work, in my handbag, and I've already snuck out for 10 minutes to read it in the loo. For once I take my half-hour lunch break, mowing down another three chapters. When I get back to my desk, I go on TradeMe and buy the fourth book for $26.
We're at Sarah's house, eating cheerios and drinking wine, working out which book we'll read next - last month it was Running with Scissors, the month before that The Reader. Someone suggests another vampire series.
"No!" I protest.
Then, knowing what a dick this makes me appear, I still say, "I'd feel like I was cheating on Twilight."
"Oo-kay then... Wow."
We settle on The Color Purple and as we leave, I give the first Twilight book to my friend Keren.
It feels like lending out a little piece of my soul.
A text from Keren: "OMG. How did I survive without this book in my life?"
An email to my boyfriend: "Did you know you have the same birthday as Edward?"
He replies: "Did you know that Twilight fans are called Twihards?"
Every night, for the week after I finish the series, I dream of vampires. When I lock the house on these rainy Auckland mornings and walk out to my rusty old Nissan, what I'm thinking is: "I wish Edward were picking me up in his Volvo today."
It's not that I exactly want him. It would be cool if Bella were there, too. It's just that I'm thinking about
Twilight so much, I'm starting to feel like I actually live in Forks and could catch a ride with them if
I wanted. You know, if they were going my way. I muck around at work, trawling fan sites and watching New Moon trailers. (By the way, fellow Twihards, Taylor Lautner has a baby face and a snubby little nose; I really don't understand the whole Team Jacob thing.)
I get all exasperated at the feminist meh-meh on the internet: of course Bella is vulnerable and weak
compared to Edward. He's a vampire. She's human. That's the whole point. Anyway, Bella saves his life
in New Moon. And becomes more powerful than him in Breaking Dawn. I could go on...
One afternoon at work I stumble across a leaked draft of a fifth book. It is told from Edward's perspective, and I read 17 pages of it before my phone rings. It's the media liasion girl from a teachers' union. I tell her why I haven't got around to reading the very important documents she's leaked me.
"Midnight Sun? Already read it,'' she emails later. In my lucid moments I am very glad that I am 26, not 14, and that high school is a long way behind me. Otherwise I would have bought a duffle coat and made a beeline for the creepiest, palest guy in school. Is this what it's like to go insane?
"Ah, you know you've had this movie out before?"
The girl at Video Ezy hands Twilight back to me, expecting me to swap it.
"Yes," I say. "I have to watch it again. I'm writing about it."
"Oh. Sucks to be you."
- Sunday Magazine
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