My other life:
Jon McGregor envisages a world of infinite possibilities but opts instead for this reality
n my other life, the laws of physics are different. All decisions are reversible, and all options remain open. In a restaurant, I eat anything on the menu and then change my mind. Stuck in traffic, I take the alternative route I was considering 30 miles ago. Disappointed with my career, I apply for a different degree at a better university; go to all those parties and do more revision for my exams. Dying of cancer, I give up smoking before I even began.
I have a friend, in this life, who would like to live that way. Haunted by what she thinks are past mistakes and errors of judgment, she longs to go back for another chance. Just once more, she says.
I've tried explaining that my other life isn't much fun, but she doesn't believe me. Imagine, I say, when you can revoke any decision you have to make, how meaningless it becomes. How weightless. In my other life, I tell her, there are no rewards for making the right choice.
I've made a choice, and I'm sticking to it. I choose this life, with all its regrets, mistakes and failures; all its hard-earned triumphs and joys. I hope my friend will choose this life as well, one day. There aren't any others.
Jon McGregor's latest novel, Even the Dogs, is published by Bloomsbury