"do you believe in god?" he said, like it was a rhetorical question.
"no." i answered. i scooted to the edge of my seat and leaned over the table. the house was dark and the screen on my laptop set the room aglow. our faces were blue in its reflection. it must have been 3am. it was the end of summer, before sophomore year of college.
"do you like the dave matthews band?" he asked this time.
"yeah, i do." he started tapping the table with his right pointer finger. hard taps. the tap-tap-tap echoed off the old wooden floor in the midnight silence. i sat still, leaned over the table.
"you know," he said, "god isn't real." he shifted in his seat. the sweat was misty on his face, glistening on his hairline. his jaw flexed. molars grinding side to side.
"yes, i know."
"can i play some dave matthews for you?" his eyes were wide awake. i could see his cheeks clenching, dimples--contractions. his teeth dancing on one another.
"i can't be mormon," he said.
"why?" i asked.
"because there is no god. how can so many people believe there is a god?"
my voice was soft, "i don't know. maybe they're afraid." i looked hard at him. he twisted in his chair. there he was, trying to be two people at once.