In his version the river had practically dried up. No way, I said. I was there not long ago. The river looked fine. He took no notice, as if he’d spoken the truth and the matter was done — a habit that had never failed to annoy me in our thirty-year marriage, which ended almost two decades ago. As we talked, other guests listened, among them our sons. Did they worry we might not stay civil? That Fern Picnic Area could become a war zone? My ex turned to the audience — he always loved an audience. Sad-faced, he told them the shrinking of the river was a very personal sorrow, because he’d grown up on it, passed his childhood along its banks. I thought, You bullshitter, a phrase that had often occurred to me when we were married. I recalled him pointing out his childhood home whenever we’d driven through that fancy neighborhood. What was it called? He looked surprised when I said, Wasn’t your part of town a long way from the river? I swear I spoke in a neutral tone, just a fellow party guest asking a question. He waved a hand, as if to erase my words. What I meant was the boat, he said. The one I built when I was thirteen. From the kit my parents gave me. When I finished the boat, my life became the river. I didn’t say a word. Not, What boat? Not, You never had the patience to build anything. Because that’s when some small miracle happened. Right there, in the shade of a gnarled live oak, near our grandchild’s birthday presents and cake, the thought occurred to me: Between our different truths, his is the more beautiful. And maybe there was a boat, and I forgot.