Thursday, 3 August 2017


Last October, a novel came into my hands that reaffirmed what I already knew: that answers can change to questions asked again. Again as in some months, even years on, from when the subject was first broached. If you ask again and again and the answer's always the same then you know not to ask again don't you, but if you just accept the first given answer and let the matter drop, then surely as the asker you're doing the answerer a disservice, unless your position as the asker too has somewhat changed. Your feelings are no longer the same or your situation has altered and therefore whatever it was you were originally offering is not available, not on those same terms, which means if you asked again the question put would be different and the answer just as uncertain.
Answerers, if the question's unexpected, can be too hasty in their response, give their initial reaction to a proposal when it might not be what they actually meant, as by doing so they lessen the time they might spend deciding with their stomach a-flutter, their mind in knots, as well as the time the asker is kept waiting.
Whereas no response is either a open door or a door the asker will choose to close because it's unfair. Their life in limbo, always hopeful that one day their appeal will be accepted, until the day they become aware of their own stagnancy and realise they've been taken advantage of, forever kept in reserve.
Some answerers, however, do give the question the time it deserves. They might pause whilst delivering their response, have a affectation that buys them thirty seconds such as removing spectacles, if they have them, and cleaning the lenses, or pinching the bridge of their nose as if a headache beckons, which in turn enables their brain to formulate a reply which would be right at the time of asking. But that's not to say that the answer given would be the same if the same question was asked in an altogether different moment.
Then, there's how it's asked – with what words and in what tone, which should be considered if the question is being asked again and if you believe the answerer, if it's the same answerer, remembers the situation in which the original was proposed. Though if it has been forgotten, then it could work in the asker's favour, but it's dangerous to assume that's the case because in such circumstances the answerer may recall yet imply, for their own purposes, otherwise.
Nothing asked twice or thrice is ever the same, though it can take on a robotic quality as if the asker knows, before it's even been asked, what answer to expect since it's been asked that many times, so that if a different answer happened to be given they might on that one-off occasion miss it.
There are some answerers, however, who refuse to entertain the same question however it's asked, believing that to do so shows a weakness in their character, even if at the repeat performance they felt differently. And there are askers too whom on being rejected once wouldn't dare to enquire again, even if the opportunity was undoubtedly there or their feelings remain unaltered.
Everything has to, in a way, be perfect for it to come together. The question needs to be put favourably to receive a favourable response, and for that the mood needs to be spot-on, and that's not something you can ever, truly, be an accurate judge of. For it's not just the mood of the answerer the asker has to be ascertain along with their own, but also that of the environment where the question will be placed, and will be forever fixed in both their minds if the question popped or answer given is poorly managed in their opinion.
The moment has to be right, for when it's not (for either party) then it either passes with no action taken or someone winds up dejected, which may in future prevent them effectuating the same scenario again or behaving differently. It's always risky even if each are sure of how they'll ask should the chance arise or how they'll respond should they be asked, because anything might occur to throw that pre-thought off course.
People change, as do the answers given.

Picture credit: Cartomancy, 2004, Frances Broomfield