"If I knew any literature I would quote it" he says at the end when there is, perhaps, nothing more that either of us can say.
It is not quite true of course for this is the boy who once told me he wanted to be Dunbar in Catch 22. But we play our roles - me who does not know the difference between blues and jazz, him who has not read Gatsby and cannot name the big six Romantic Poets.
It is a concession to my land of novels with broken spines and smudged pencil quotes. A quivering victory in a battle I was only vaguely aware I was fighting.
But I do not need it. Or, rather, I do not want it.
For it cannot make this instant more profound or meaningful or - beautiful.
Nor can it make me feel better.
Because the thing that gets me, the words that twist and turn and make me squirm are entirely his.
And the worst thing, the thing that really makes me cry?
When he calls me -