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2010: I See No Fat Lady

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"It's not a divorce, just a separation," says Jeremy for the fourteenth time that night, looking forlorn and lost in the corner of a big, battered leather couch that all bars seem to come equipped with these days. "It's nothing to do with love. It's about ... I have absolutely no idea what it's about. God, Danny, what am I going to do?" He smacks his head with his hand. Hard.

Dan nudges Jeremy's glass closer to him.

"Drink. Normally I don't advocate alcohol as a coping mechanism but if you've got a glass in your hand you'll find it harder to punch yourself in the face. I think that's probably a good thing."

Jeremy picks up his Scotch and sips.

"She makes the decision and I have to be the one that moves out. She decides to 'take some space' but assumes she automatically gets to keep Zack. In her space. Can you point out to me how any of that is fair? Because I'm not seeing it. I'm really not seeing it."

Jeremy picks up one of the sofa cushions and peers underneath it to ram home his point and Dan wonders if getting him drunk was the best option after all.

"I just don't understand how we got here."

Dan refrains from making a joke about two subways and a brisk walk and settles for making empathetic noises. At this point there isn't much else he can do.

"I'm not supposed to be starting again at my age. I'm supposed to be done starting. I'm all started out. I don't want to be free and single, I want my family back. How did Casey do it? I mean how did he get through it?"

Dan's lips set in a straight line. That is not his favorite period of history.

"Badly. He got through it badly. Didn't matter that he didn't love Lisa any more, he loved Charlie like breathing. I don't think he recovered from that until the day Charlie came to live with us."

"You love him like breathing too, don't you, Dan?"


"Like I love Zack."


"There's a whole lot of love in this room, Danny."

Dan smiles as Jeremy lists to one side and he leans over to straighten his glass. Maybe they are getting to the happy drunk portion of the evening.

"That's right, Jeremy," he says encouragingly and Jeremy's face brightens for one brief second before drooping again, his whole body following suit.

"Not from Natalie. No love from her. Not today and not tomorrow and maybe never again."

Dan curbs the instinct to flip open his phone, call Natalie and demand she get her ass down here now so that they figure themselves out. He's learnt the hard way that the only person he can fix is himself. Doesn't stop him wanting to try, though. He can't even promise that things will be okay. It's not his call to make.

"She's going through some stuff right now, Jeremy. Hang tight."

"But when she has stuff she's supposed to go through it with me. That's what I'm for. That's my function. She's de-functioning me. It should be like you and Casey, that's what it should be like. You guys had plenty of stuff – good stuff, bad stuff, weird stuff – but you got through it together."

Dan shrugs.

"There've been rough times, Jeremy and I'm not ruling out a return. We're not perfect, god knows. No one is."

"But you're still together." Jeremy is nodding now and his attempt at a sage expression while his glasses are skewiff makes him look somewhat like a well-known green frog.

Dan has a brief flash on Natalie karate chopping Jeremy out of the house whilst a tiny green frog looks on with big eyes. He stares into his glass, swirling the dregs around. He may have had a little more to drink than he thought.

"We are."

Jeremy nods again, finishes his drink in two swallows and places his glass carefully on the table.

"I want to go home," he says.

"Okay," says Dan. "Whatever you want."

"I don't have one," Jeremy wails.

Dan stands up and hauls Jeremy to his feet.

"Okay, big boy, that's enough for one night. You're coming with me."

"I am?"


"To your apartment?"


"Won't there be a Casey there?"


Jeremy stops in his shuffling tracks and peers at Dan.

"Are you trying to make me gay? Because I know I'm drunk but you might have to give me more alcohol if we're going there. Not that you're not attractive but you're just. Too hairy. And too tall."

"Yes, Jeremy. You have uncovered my nefarious plot to turn the whole of sports broadcasting gay. It's slow progress but I'm getting there."

"You know, if you threw A.J Feeley into the mix I might be tempted."

"And I'm too tall?"

"It's all in the shoulders, Dan. You've either got them or you haven't."

Dan laughs. He laughs loud and long because somehow he knows Jeremy is going to be okay and Dan gets to go home to Casey and push his cold feet against Casey's warm legs and tell him how glad he is that they have each other. And in the morning he gets to wake up and tell him all over again. Only this time with fewer words.