I never told Tanner how much of me went with him when things ended.
It was a year later when I saw Tanner again. His hair and beard were lighter, more orange. He’d been running, getting sun on that face of his, and most importantly, he’d finally quit his day job. Now he was really a musician. We were in his car, a rent-as-you-go, feeling the way the hot air cooled us at that speed. Were we becoming friends this time or lovers, again? He turned his head from the road and smiled. Lovers.
“Hell of a cold,” he said. We were pretending that I’d called in that morning with a cold. I didn’t have a boss, since my job was to be an artist. I sold enough to make it by if I ate mostly pasta and didn’t buy new clothes.
Tanner played me. He coughed violently. “It’s not looking good, sir. This stuff is green.”
“Suck it up, kid. Get your ass in here,” I said.
He hung up the imaginary hand-phone and gave it the finger with his other hand while I glanced at the naked steering wheel. “Sucker!” he said. He st…