Him: Oh hey.
Me: What? Shit. Hey! Happy Thanksgiving.
Him: Happy Thanksgiving sweetie. Are you here alone?
Me: Yeah. I went to a few friends. Now I’m here. I don’t know why. Where’s Jason?
Him: He went to get cigarettes, he’ll be back in 20 minutes or so.
Me: Ugh. You guys are still smoking? I thought you almost kicked that when we were together…
Him: I never really stopped. I just only had 2 or 3 a week.
Me: I know. I smelled it on you, from time to time. I didn’t always mention it.
Him: I knew you knew.
Me: I knew you knew I knew.
Him: I knew that too.
Me: We were very passive aggressive towards each other.
Him: We were. You are.
Me: Okay, okay. Thanks for saying hi!
Me: I understand you and Jason bought a car and a house together.
Him: I guess word travels fast.
Me: I hear things. We’re both in comedy. People talk.
Him: It’s funny, I’d never think to say that. “I’m in comedy.”
Me: You are. The bulk of your money comes from comedy.
Him: I think of myself more as a writer.
Me: Yes. You’ve gotten very good.
Him: Oh, have you read?
Me: Yes. I follow you online, here and there, when I can stomach it.
Me: Oh stop. I’m sure you don’t read my blog.
Him: That’s correct – I don’t.
Me: Okay so, fine. Well I read your stuff sometimes. You’ve gotten quite good.
Him: I’m glad you think so.
Me: I mean, I’m not nuts about reading about myself, but it’s very good writing, so that’s flattering, I guess.
Him: I don’t write about you. I write fiction.
Me: But some things are based on me.
Him: Some elements of some of my characters share parts of your behavior patterns or point of view. But I wouldn’t say I’m writing about you.
Me: No, of course you wouldn’t. But even so, it’s funny that as soon as I start recognizing myself in your writing, the very next thing I notice is an attitude of contempt from the narrator toward the ‘me’ character. It’s not my favorite thing in the world.
Him: You’ll never believe this, but I don’t write about you.
Me: I don’t write about you often, either. It’s good writing, Carson. Congrats on getting published. That’s huge. And I heard about the grant too.
Him: It’s political. I’m good at politics.
Me: You’re a good writer.
Him: Well thank you.
Me: You’re welcome. And you’re right. I’ll never believe that you’re not writing about me. We lived together for 8 years. I worked you through grad school.
Him: Let’s not start down this path again.
Me: Of course not. It’s a holiday, and in any case I have no regrets.
Him: I’m glad to hear that. Neither do I.
Me: How big of us.
(a very long pause. we stare across the bar and survey the crowd. we don’t make eye contact)