The Ficus is Dead

drawings by lex millena

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!

(pause)

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.

Him: Ouch.

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)

To Be Continued…

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