(a very long pause. we stare across the bar and survey the crowd. we don’t make eye contact)
Me: The ficus died.
Him: What? Why didn’t you tell me? What’s wrong with you?
Me: I didn’t think you deserved to know.
Him: What the. You’re so passive aggressive. Of course I wanted to know about that, Michael. I gave you that tree on our first anniversary. I always thought of it as a metaphor for our relationship.
Me: That’s exactly why I didn’t tell you when it died. I didn’t think you deserved to know.
Me: It died last winter, dumbass. It was horrible and I was unemployed and the landlord wouldn’t turn on the heat so it was freezing.
Him: Did you forget to water it?
Me: No, I water the plants once a week and the apartment is always clean now. It was a bad time, though, you know how I get in the winter, very sad.
Me: It went completely bald in the space of three days. I freaked out but I couldn’t save it, Carson. I tried. It wouldn’t take water anymore and even after it was dead I kept watering it hoping that it would come back.
Him: That’s not how things work. You taught me that.
Me: There’s that narrator’s contempt I mentioned.
Him: Did you throw it out?
Me: I kept it, dead and brittle. For like 3 more months. I was angry about it dying and I was angry at you and eventually I snapped it in half and set it out on the curb.
Him: I’m sorry, but I’m getting a little pissed off. Why didn’t you tell me about this?
Me: Do you remember our last conversation?
Him: No? When was it? I always mean to check on you but I get busy sweetie.
Me: It was a year ago, Carson. A whole damn year went by and you didn’t even so much as txt me on my birthday.
Him: You know I’m forgetful.
Me: Well I’m not. The last significant correspondence we had was a year ago, when you invited me to Thanksgiving, and then took it back, because you were so fucking worried that it would make Jason feel weird. It didn’t matter to you that it was Thanksgiving and I had nowhere to go, just that your squirrely boyfriend wouldn’t have to feel slightly jealous once or twice in the evening.
Him: I’m sorry… I was just trying to have a nice Thanksgiving.
Me: Yeah. And the definition of a nice Thanksgiving is one where I don’t show up and ruin things. So yeah, I didn’t speak to you after that, because you proved to me that you don’t care about me anymore. I decided right then that I wasn’t going to reach out to you again, until you reached out first. Ha. I guess you called my bluff! Cause a year has gone by and you didn’t even know I was hurting over it. But it doesn’t matter anymore because the ficus is dead. It’s dead and it’s not ever, ever coming back and you don’t get to know about that.