"Your socks are bigger," Ian said. It sounded profound in his head; the sort of profoundness that comes at three in the morning after several drinks, when really the only place one should be is in bed with one's wife, not slumped on Paul's couch. The sort of profoundness that really isn't profound at all, and falls more easily into the category of obvious statements.
Paul wiggled his toes in his socks – neon-green socks that Ian had already complained about, saying that they hurt his eyes and he was having trouble looking directly at them – and nodded. "They are."
"And my socks are smaller," he continued, looking at his own feet, propped up on the coffee table. "Which is quite sad, really."
Paul leaned over to try to – it seemed – pat his head, but ended up just landing in Ian's lap instead. He looked up at Ian with a bewildered expression on his face, then remembered what he'd been trying to express.
"Your socks are smaller," Paul said, with the infinite wisdom that comes at three in the morning after several drinks and having reached the stage where one can't even sit on a couch without toppling over, "because your feet are smaller. I mean, you wouldn't want to be going around in big socks all the time, because you'd fall over. Unless you stuffed your socks with tissue paper. And people would think you had gigantic feet, 'cause of your socks. Look at his feet, they'd cry. Such a small man, but such big feet. And they wouldn't know. Unless they stood on the tissue paper trying to stamp on your toe, and you didn't feel it. Then they'd know you were a fraud. That Hislop, pretending he has big feet, with those big socks of his . . . you'd never live it down."
"Yes," said Ian, because it seemed like the only possible response. Paul didn't seem to have intention of moving from his current position, so he found himself twirling his fingers in Paul's hair, and then noticing what he was doing, and stopping, only to find himself doing it again.
"Besides, size isn't everything," Paul said, looking over at Ian's feet. "The socks are all right."
"Better than yours," Ian had to point out.
Paul didn't even bother retaliating. He closed his eyes, and Ian was about to doze off, one hand still entangled in Paul's hair, when Paul spoke. "What are we doing here?"
Ian was not quite drunk or tired enough to say something stupid. He spoke carefully. "Talking about socks, it seems."
"Thought so," Paul said, and closed his eyes again.
Ian watched him for a few minutes, and then let his own eyelids drift shut.