“Why can’t you go to the movies tomorrow?” she asks.
“Because I have to work,” I say. “Your school has the day off, but my office doesn’t.”
“You have to go and write books?”
“No, that’s not my job.”
She fixes me with a quizzical look. When I lock myself away to write at home, I often tell her I have to work. I now realize this has led her to think writing is what I do for my job-job. For a moment I believe I’ve disappointed her, but really I’ve only disappointed myself.
“I don’t get paid to write,” I explain. “I do it in my free time.”
“You write for fun?”
“It’s not really fun, but…”
“You should make a book of your stories. Like, from your life. They’re funny!”
“What would you put in that book?”
“The Salty Dog story, and, um…I don’t know, but they’re funny. You should tell more people your stories and get paid for that and that would be your job instead.”
“That’s not going to happen.”
A million things spring to mind, a million things that stab and bubble inside my brain all day when I’m away from her, at my “real” job, but I can say none of them. Not to her.
“Well…It’s very hard to make a living as a writer, and people don’t seem too interested in the things I want to…”
“Battery roll, that’s another good story you have.”
“Yeah, I like that one, too. I don’t think anybody wants a book about this stuff.”
“Then make something else with it.”
“Alright, under the covers now. I love you.”
“Say ‘don’t let the bed bugs bite’,” she commands.
“Don’t let the bed bugs bite,” I say.