“Nic returned to the table and leaned his chin on folded hands. His eyes were bloodshot. His whole face seemed kind of bloodshot. He smiled, because he was brave.
Tired? I asked.
Epically, he said.
He got up to put on a record, vinyl was his thing now. He liked the step-by-stepness of it, the process. He held the record the way people hold records, not with his fingers but with his palms. He blew on it. The music was a soft whisper, one acoustic guitar, no voices. When he came back to the table he asked me to look at his eyes.
They’re seeping, he said. Like I have an infection or something.
Pink eye? I asked.
I don’t know, he said. They always seem to be running, just clear liquid, not pus. I lie in bed and all this liquid dribbles out the sides. Maybe I should see a doctor, or optometrist or something.
You’re crying, Nic.
Yes. That’s what they call crying.
But all the time? he asked. I’m not even conscious of it then.
It’s a new kind of crying, I said. For new times. I leaned over and put my hands on his shoulders and then on the sides of his face in the same way that he’d held his record.”