My head is wrapped around three. One. My hands are pulled across me. Two. My body is mangled beyond degree. Three. My legs wish to flee. Four.
I recall that night, many years ago, when I spoke to a mathematician. We talked for hours over the phone. But I remember so little of that night. Another friend once said that the best way to recall a memory of a distant past is to return what we were then. So, now, I need to speak in a language that will make this revisitation easy: numbers. We called for four hours, thirty-three minutes, and four seconds. We talked about devotion, people, religion, mathematics, and art. Memory tells me it was five topics; delight contests but gives no alternative. Perhaps it is true: the choice to measure is given up in moments of pleasure.
I was young and foolish. I moved into my dorm without an alarm clock. The only marker for time was my phone. Yet, talking to him over the phone meant that I could not have constant access to it, to time. The occlusion to it also implied that I knew nothing about direction and movement. I sought something else for anchor.
I looked out of my room and saw the light. I counted the number of times the light in the street ahead turned red. Ten was the most. His words were coming out of my phone; they were clashing with my numbers. Even though I mouthed these numbers, and said nothing, I still lost count. This arithmetic break told me that words and numbers could not go hand in hand. I had to stop. I needed to hear the reflections of my friend, his theories about applied mathematics and the linearity of lines.
Years later, tonight, I am thinking about this friend, his passion for numbers, and his belief in their workability. What will he say of my situation?
Your numbers could work, he would say.
But, as I write this now, I know that his answer would come from a place foreign to human relations; they come from data and equations. My numbers, in that regard, would work.