PHOTOGRAPH BY MARTIN PARR/MAGNUM
They will say no.
They will say no and laugh at me for not having enough existing friends to get coffee with.
They will not answer, and I’ll be left waiting for their response for months, unable to focus on anything else because I’m totally distracted imagining how they’re going to say no.
They’ll say yes, but with a lack of enthusiasm just distinct enough that I’ll know they don’t really want to and are just too polite to decline, and then I’ll feel vaguely guilty the whole time we’re having coffee because it’ll be clear that they’d rather not be there.
They’ll say yes, and we’ll have a perfectly nice time and bond over what it’s like being in our twenties and working in creative fields and struggling to find fulfillment on a day-to-day basis. It will slowly grow dark outside as we share and laugh late into the evening, and when we part we’ll agree that it was a truly lovely time and that we’ll definitely do dinner soon, and then we will never speak again.
They’ll say yes, and we’ll have a great time and become fast friends and then they’ll make me go to their wedding and it will be expensive.
They’ll wear something cooler than me to the coffee place.
I’ll forget my wallet at home and not realize that I’ve forgotten it until after I’ve already ordered some complicated six-dollar coffee drink and then they’ll have to pay for me and they’ll think I only invited them to con them into buying me a fancy beverage.
They’ll think I invited them to coffee because I have a crush on them.
I will develop a crush on them.
We will develop crushes on each other and then we’ll fall in love and have three kids, but we’ll both still want to work, so there won’t be enough parental attention to go around, and the house will grow full of tension, and years later one of the kids will murder one of the other kids and I’ll be overcome by grief and guilt and drown myself in the lake at our summer home.
They will pretend to become my friend in order to get close enough to me to discover my weaknesses and then sneakily use Sun Tzu-style manipulation to destroy me.
They’ll say yes, and I’ll look forward to our coffee date for weeks and then, on the planned day, I will be feeling tired and not be a good conversationalist and I will hurt their feelings by seeming uninterested in them.
They’ll want to talk about CrossFit.