Me [sits down to write]: Sigh. This hasn’t been going so well.
He [plunks down next to me; offers me a potato chip from the bowl he’s produced out of nowhere]: Wanna talk about it?
Me: No. Yes. Maybe.
He: Go on. I’m listening.
Me: Well, that’s a change.
He [bats eyelashes]: Why, whatever do you mean?
Me: You’re usually bossier. You’ve been silent on this one.
He: You killed me, sweetie. [crunches loudly]
Me: You said to! And I thought you meant just for your story, not a “for all times and all people” kind of thing.
He: That’s Jesus you’re thinking of. I’m not your sacrifice to the gods of fictional characters, babe.
He: If the shoe fits.
Me: Whatever. You disappeared after I did what you asked.
He: Right. You needed to let go of depending on me so much.
Me: Well, I failed that test.
He: No, you didn’t.
Me [blinks]: I didn’t?
He: Not at all. You did some good stuff in there.
Me: Yeah, but…
He: But what?
Me [tiny voice]: I think I still need you. Sometimes it’s just…hard.
He: I know.
Me: My brain and body don’t always do what I want. Some days are really bad. It’s frustrating.
He: You want some advice?
Me: I think you’re going to give it to me whether I do or not, so go ahead.
He: Give yourself permission to fail at something. If it isn’t working, change things.
Me: But I feel stupid. I was already on this path. Someone might get mad if I go another way.
He: Who, exactly, is going to be mad at you if you go a different direction?
Me: I don’t know…people? The universe? Uh…you?
He: I’m not mad at you. I promise. That’s not even possible.
Me: Why not?
He: You made me up. I came from inside your head. [eats chip]
Me: True. Wait, why do you have potato chips, anyway?
He: No idea. You gave them to me somehow. I don’t even really like them. Now, if you had cookie dough ice cream…
Me: I think I can do that. [conjures a pint of cookie dough ice cream] Here. Dairy free and everything.
He: Oh, my God. You are amazing.
Me: Sometimes, I suppose. [pause] I miss you, you know.
He: Of course you do. I’m still here, just not so much in the spotlight.
Me: Can we just sit together for a bit?
He [already fidgeting]: Uh…
Me [glances over; giggles]: Yeah, bad idea. But you’ll be around if I need you?
He: I pinkie swear it.