VANDEVER

Our dog died last summer. I was seven when my grandfather died.

MC

Yes he got rid of the boy cats and she got rid of the girls and maybe it is a matter of decay for while he was getting rid of the boys his girls were being the life of the party and maybe that takes the sadness away a little they do not hide behind their mother they’re not afraid to take the floor at an outdoor family cookout and sing tragic opera to the laughter of their audience it’s good for a shy father to have outgoing daughters hear these things hear how she let her cats go on the old road how they mewed sadly but she just got a new couch doesn’t want them to tear it up and how the older one the one in third grade cried when she came home from school and found them gone but the young one the one in first didn’t seem to mind that much and if you notice how it’s all entangled the invisible magic of it which makes you question and wonder and doubt it takes some of the sadness away when you realize how little other people think of you even when you make a big deal out of getting rid of a cat how little you think of them when you think they should have to hear what you have say anyway how it’s amazing we go around absorbing one another confirming each other’s presence with puffed up impressions of ourselves someone else can easily deflate simply by shifting the point of view… the truth is we overestimate ourselves while others underestimate us and when it “collapses” maybe it’s like musical chairs you find out where everyone is and who’s left standing. For instance if you weren’t here I’d just be talking to myself. And without you to hear it how would anybody know what happened to the cat?

VANDEVER

You do tend to ramble a bit. I don’t want to talk about my uncle anymore. So what if he’s gone through a lot of cats? Maybe he should get a dog. I don’t see him much so I don’t think of him much.

MC

It’s a matter of breeding to look away at another’s bad manners. And even though it’s a great and innocent thing to ask someone what they truly think about you it’s only a thing you can ask in youth and once it’s answered with deference to the slight and the subliminal it can’t be asked again even as time goes on ceaselessly carrying us back to it back to the past it can’t be asked again without embarrassment and scorn. And besides, you have your answer anyway… Ok then—tell me about the girl.

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