Numbers

By Aly Kirke, TIWP Student

Numbers and I used to get along. Aging used to mean presents on birthdays and getting another step closer to having something my older siblings had, but I wasn’t allowed. With each day, I would learn another wonderful thing about the world—like if I held a shell to my ear, I could hear the waves of the ocean, or like discovering that hummus tastes amazing, despite its appearance. Numbers were just gentler to me when I was little. I was even good at math without trying. But as more numbers have slipped away—1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14—I’ve come to realize that they aren’t as supportive as they appear. The number of friends I have is always bouncing back and forth. One day I feel a solid eight. The next day, barely a three. With each new day, new knowledge is promised, but never is it as brilliant as the discovery of hummus or the complexity of a shell. Instead it’s something like this:  1 suicide, 2 girls raped and murdered, 3 shots fired at an unarmed black kid, 4 species extinct, 5 slices on a friend’s thigh. It only feels like the numbers are increasing, when all I want them to do is go down. Take me back to when I was just nine, counting the cocoons on the bridge on my way to swim practice. Or how about when I was seven and the worst pain I felt was a fall off my bike? Or when I was four and ate mac and cheese every day with out it ever getting old? Or when I was one, which I don’t remember, but can reflect on through photos? How about the days when I cried for no reason and the days I pointed out every dog I saw? Some days, I would rather be one years old than fifteen, so I could just erase myself all together.

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