So I did a thing and wrote John telling James his story.
There had been an unspoken compromise not to talk about the past.
That made conversation difficult, to say the least, since everything between them was of the past. Yet after the first couple of days they managed to only speak of current events such as the state of piracy, the maroons and the failing treaty they both knew could not have lasted, and the proper way to roast a pig. The last subject was, of course, a joke.
They had progressed, James thought, to jokes.
All around him he felt the pressure of the rift between them gnawing at his heels. It was in their hesitant smiles, in John’s eyes when he looked a moment too long at James. It reared its head in their carefully constructed conversations, like a newly woven tapestry whose fragile glass might shatter if the wrong pressure were applied.