: : : SO LET ME GET THIS straight, Fletcher says. He puts his hands in a kind of squaring position, palms facing one another, with about a foot of distance between. He and this girl stop seeing one another
Clark, angled over her lighter, nods.
And he comes crawling back
Clark leans back, takes her first drag, looks thoughtful, like she's weighing the phrase. Fletcher pours himself another beer from their pitcher, waiting until she completes the exhale.
Well, she says finally, I wouldn't exactly say crawling back. But, yeah, he calls, he sounds sheepish, he says he misses me
So, semantics asidehe comes crawling back and you just say, what, you just say OK?
Yeah basically, Clark says.
I have to admit, Fletcher says, I'm a little surprised. I mean, I talked to you after that whole thing went down and you seemed prettyI don't know, I mean, I've seen you pretty unhappy about a lot of things over the years
And here I've always prided myself on being a barrel of laughs, Clark says.
Well, yeah, sure, that toobut a month ago it seemed like you'd been fucked up pretty bad over this Oliver thing. Fucked up to a degree that I don't usually associate with you. So, I don't know, maybe it's none of my business, but I sort of want to like caution you about getting back into it
Well, yeah, Clark says, OKI was feeling pretty fucked up about a month ago, that's totally true. She drags again on the cigarette, buying time to compose her justification. But two things. Onethat wasn't just because of Oliver: I mean, don't forget what else happened about a month ago
I take it you're referring to Bush's mandate?
Don't use that word, Clark cautions. Because I will punch you.
You're all talk, Fletcher says.
Try me, Clark says.
Fletcher gives her an assessing look. I don't think I will, actually.
Wise choice. So anywaytwoit's not really like I just said OK.
That's good, Fletcher says. Cause if you let someone just like ditch you and then pick you up later, when it's like convenient for them to do soit seems like you're setting some kind of bad precedent there.
Yeah, Clark says, yeah, I guess, but you know what? I'm thirty-three years old. And one thing that I've noticed is that as you get older it gets like harder and harder to make friends.
You get pickier, Fletcher acknowledges.
You do get pickier. And it takes longer to get to the point where you feel like someone's even starting to understand you. And so by the time I get to that point with someone, they have like this incredibly long leash with meit's like I don't want to just trash it all cause I can barely stand the thought of having to start from scratch with somebody elseso it gets to the point where when a person fucks up, or makes a mistake, or hurts me, I'm pretty predisposed to just forgive them.
But you said that you didn't just forgive him, Fletcher says.
No, Clark says, I didn't. I mean, our relationship, when you get right down to it, is kind of fucked up
Well, Fletcher says, I wasn't going to be the one who said it
Yeah, Clark says, thanks. But no, seriously, so much of our relationship was based around drinking
Fletcher looks around at their surroundings until Clark smirks.
I'm just going to ignore that, she says. So we had like this breach in the relationship and I thought, well, maybe as we're repairing this breach we actually have an opportunity to try to repair some of the other fucked-up aspects of the relationshipso I've been saying that when we get together we basically have to try not to drink.
How's that been working out? Fletcher asks.
Um, Clark says, awkwardly I think is putting it fairly.
: : :
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