He ran into the room panting and I could tell right off he wasn’t happy. I was lying on the bed with my laptop propped against my knees and there was a stain on my sweatshirt from eating ice cream earlier when I dislodged a mound of cookie dough and it slid from the spoon like a clumsy ice skater, landing near but not quite inside the pocket of my hoody. I used the spoon and my fingers to pick it back up and there was only one or two pieces of fuzz stuck to the outside so I ate it. He’d scowled, and even then I could tell he was in a foul mood, so it wasn’t entirely a surprise when he came in with a huff, eyes tucked up under his brows and his hands awkwardly held at his sides. He paced once, twice, again, and then looked right into my face and I could almost feel the prick of daggers coming out of his eyes.
“You promised you would write tonight.”
Another lap around the perimeter of the room. “You promised”, he repeated, quieter this time, perhaps in case I’d confused the word earlier for a similar sounding word like psalmist or the thousands of other words that surely rhyme with promised but it’s not like I have a thesaurus just sitting around. He looked up again but quickly away like my hollow corneas bore a hunk of burning magnesium.
I thought he was going storm back out, so lost for words he was, but then he looked directly at you. You were there, sitting in the corner listening. And I watched as the realization slowly broke across your face, as you came to understand. You’re just the reader. You’re just a reader, and I’m the writer, but he’s the writer, too. And I saw the hurt in your eyes when the last puzzle piece dropped into place and you realized you’d just read three paragraphs that I wrote as an excuse for writing something substantive tonight. And then he did storm out, and I followed, and you were there alone, but at least the piece was over.