I tell her I'm a fan and she smiles. They all like to hear that. "Your
biggest," I say, and the clouds roll in. Her smile falls flat and I know
right away what I've done. There is a difference, see, between being one of
many, and being that one. There are implications there, and they are not good.
Especially since I'm 41 and and she's, what, 23?
If I were really her biggest fan, I'd know that; I wouldn't have to ask you.
She's creeped out and I hate that. I'm no one's biggest fan, not even my own. It
was a stupid, star-struck impulse. "Not really," I want to say but
can't. My credibility has poured right out of me and is all over the floor
between us. She nods politely/warily and turns to leave.
"Stop!" I say, but only in my head. And in there, she turns around and
we start over. "You should have more starring roles," I say. "You're talented enough."
But before she can speak, the credibility seeps into my shoes and reality back
into my head. She is across the room now and I am running out of there.