It was Pythagoras. All my stories go back to him: Pythagoras and his triangles.
It was all just so simple. With one equation, I could now calculate the shadows cast by trees, the ladders propped against houses, and the forgotten pieces of spaghetti that slowly burned, leaning against the boiling pot of water. I got it. And that never happened. Not in math class.
Math was like a library. It wasn’t like English, which could get rowdy, or biology, which could get gross, or French, which could get incomprehensible. Math was a silent haven, disturbed only by the occasional snore of those lulled to sleep by the white noise of logarithms and permutations. It was dull, but quiet, and if you needed to pay attention, you could. And I needed to pay attention. So I did. I took notes, listened to the white noise, and generally stayed awake.
I got it. Him and his triangles – it was all so simple. I didn’t need the textbook exercises, the chalkboard demonstrations, the lectures. For once in my mathematical life, something came easy. So while others were catching up on sleep or struggling to understand the squares of this and that, I found another use for my time in class.
Behind my fat math textbook, I hid even fatter books.
All of a sudden, the lengths of shadows and ladders and spaghetti seemed insignificant when compared with the lengths of battles and ancient swords with names and ships that spoke and mist-clad islands that moved and giant sand-worms that devoured buildings and on and on and on … Once the pages started turning, they didn’t stop. And the days, like the pages, passed swiftly and the class moved on from Pythagoras and his triangles.
But it was too late. I was miles away.
Then it was June which came accompanied, as it tends to do, by the exam. But there were no battles on this exam. No swords, named or unnamed. No misty islands, moving or fixed. No ships, speaking or mute. No sand worms. There were triangles. And the things that came after. I dug into my memory and I found those triangles. But everything else was a blur of battles and swords and islands and ships and sand worms.
Then I knew: maybe, just maybe, my destiny wasn’t to be found in this exam or in a math classroom, and maybe, just maybe, I’d better try my hand at something else.
And it turns out, some people write stories.
And ever since that one little equation didn’t require my concentration, stories have been my constant companions.
So thanks, Py, for giving me the chance to drift off into other worlds and get swept off my feet by my true love: fiction.