I tried to help pay. I always do. He almost never lets me. He let me once in the entire time I’ve known him, and that was one of the first times we’d seen each other since I graduated college. (In fact that one time he not only let me pay for myself but for his beer as well.) Before that he always said he’d buy me lunch whenever we went out, but that was when I was a student, and now that I wasn’t, I wasn’t sure of the rule, so I always tried to help pay. I would do that anyway; I was raised to never assume anyone would buy anything for you.
In his usual way: “Put your damn wallet away.”
“Oh are you sure?” I protested a bit. “Mine was more money than yours.”
“Want to leave the tip then? 4 bucks.”
“I’ll pay for you until you’re 30.”
“Oh is that the new rule?”
“Though once you’re in your 30s, I’ll be in my 40s, and I’ll be wanting a hand-out… Wait, will we be in our 30s together at all?”
“What month’s your birthday? ‘71 baby right?”
“We’ll be in our 30s together for 2 months.”
“Oh great.” He gave me his bitter little laugh.