Dan reads back over his story at the mailbox, as one does, and I suddenly realized what he was doing, and I started crying, and those were tears of Scheißbedauern and they were tears of joy and tears of a surprising amount of love for a fictional character. I don't really like anything more than watching somebody exceed their own limitations. He's the one person who knows Chuck's side and knows Bart as a man rather than a father, which means all that creepy inserting himself into Bart's relationships has given him the omniscience to see what the problem is and how to fix it, and just like that he reaches into something complicated and messy and broken, and with just a tiny little nudge, and for no reason other than he knows he's the one that can and that means he's the one that has to, heals it:
5.19.91 by Dan Humphrey
His hand held a firm grip around the glass Scotch. It was like the glass was a part of him and if he let it go he'd lose a piece of himself. He took one long gulp and finished off the glass.
"Keep them coming, Joe," he spoke across the bar. The surly bartender poured some more of the brown liquid into his glass. He tilted it towards Joe and took a sip. As it hit his mouth, his lips curled and he swallowed. The glass was still clutched in his hand.
Charlie Trout had spent every Birthday at this bar since he was thirteen years old. And this year was no exception. Charlie sat on the exact same stool, drank the exact same brand of Scotch and ordered from the exact same bartender year after year. One would think Charlie Trout's Birthday party would be full of friends, sexy women and located at an exclusive Manhattan club. But that was not the case. Charlie's Birthday was always just a party of one. Or two, if you count Joe the bartender.
Charlie's Birthday didn't just signify his aging. It also represented the anniversary of his mother's death. She died while giving birth to him all those years ago and Charlie's been living with that grief ever since. Charlie's father, media tycoon Bernie Trout, had never once wanted to celebrate his son's Birthday. There were no elaborate Birthday parties for little Charlie. There weren't even Birthday cakes. Nor any wrapped gifts. A Lego set or a toy fire truck were never waiting at the foot of Charlie's bed when he awoke on his Birthday morning. All he ever got was just a deposit into a savings account.
This caused Charlie to believe his father held him responsible for his mother's death. If it weren't for Charlie, Bernie's beloved wife would still be alive. It was Charlie who killed her, Bernie must have thought. And that was why Bernie could never truly love Charlie.