The soldier told me something shocking.
“I can’t believe you tell me these secrets,” I said, matter-of-factly.
“Well you keep my secrets, P,” he said with total assurance.
“No I don’t. I tell your secrets all the time. I don’t tell all of them but I tell a lot of them. I tell plenty of them. I am always telling your secrets, actually.”
“P! You do so keep my secrets!”
“What? What you are talking about? I do not keep your secrets so don’t think I do! Who do you think you’re talking to? You’re talking to a writer! I write about people and I write about you as you have got to be well aware since you’ve read some of it. And I know you’re not reading now but I’ve told you repeatedly that I’ve been writing about you incessantly, here lately. I am writing about you every day, pretty much. Reams.”
“I see. Well then just don’t let anyone know it’s me.”
I laughed. “Well someone might figure it out. If they’re motivated they obviously will be able to figure it out. But to tell you the truth, I’m not sure how many people think you’re real anyway. I had someone write me and… this was interesting. This guy didn’t know if you were real. He thought you might be… he called you an animus archetype!” I chuckled. “You were… I guess you were coming across pure man at the time and I thought it was pretty flattering, actually. To both of us.. He thought I might be writing about myself. You are my male side, projected, I guess. You’re not you, you’re me!”
“I’m not me? They don’t think I’m real? Well that’s good if you can keep it that way,” he said.
“Oh brother. Like I have anything to say about what gets kept where. I have no idea how people parse what I write. People think strange things all the time and I have nothing to say about it. But I think this is going to be okay, regardless. Whatever is supposed to happen is going to, don’t you think?”
“And you can deal with anything and so can I, so what difference does it make? Who cares what happens? People can find out things until they’re blue and what’s going to come of it? I think nothing, because we’re not real people to people. When people read, we are characters not human beings. You have to keep in mind, a lot of people don’t believe me and almost no one believes you. I mean who believes you?” I asked. “Nobody believes anything you say and they never have.”
“Not many believe me,” he said. “You, I guess. You’re the only one who really knows me, P.”
“Yes, I guess that’s true, isn’t it? And I’m sorry but how much do you think this situation is going to change, this late in the game?”
“Probably won’t change.” he said.
“Well that’s what I think. So I may as well write whatever I want since we don’t exist. And even if we do exist, what are the people going to do? Accuse us of doing a bunch of things we’ve done? Accuse us off being who we are or of feeling how we feel? Big deal!” I said.
He laughed. “Ok, yeah. Go ahead and write whatever you want.”
The next thing out of his mouth was another secret. I just laughed.
pictured: Venus and Mars with Cupid, BORDONE, Paris Bordone, 1559-60 Oil on canvas, 118 x 130,5 cm Galleria Doria-Pamphili, Rome