Do you fancy me is what she asked me. Now, in the intervening microseconds, I ponder my answer, as I’ve asked another woman the same question who hasn’t yet answered me (though, being a schmuck, I was willing to give her time); perhaps she’s also asked a different man and so on, an infinite chain of unrequited fancying. She’s asked me this and, only now, I realize it wasn’t wise to date multiple women simultaneously, as this is the typical conundrum in which you inevitably find yourself.
Yes, I fancy her, would be my answer, but not like I do the other woman who if she fancied me would make my world perfect. Of course, I’m here in this moment, this woman before me, and based on her tilted head and raised eyebrows, she’s expecting an immediate answer, so I can’t stop, make a call and ask, well? If I say, no, I don’t fancy you, then I risk losing her and, if the other woman says the same to me, I have nobody.
My mother always said, don’t settle for second best. But she and dad met in high school, lived happily ever after. The world then was infinite interlocking couples, not this infinite chain of incompletion I imagine circles the globe. Microseconds are accumulating into uncomfortable pause. Her head is moving the other direction. Her lips are closing tight. A bead of sweat, an eye blink, just answer the question.