I was telling Ming what I did while he was out, and I listed the usual activities. “I came to bed and was going to do some planning, but then I just lay here for a while, doing nothing, a fourth asleep. Then I read my own zine, here–it’s pretty good. Hadn’t read it in a while. Then I txted some people and looked at stuff on my phone. I wished I was 100% asleep, but I–oh wait, I just mixed a fraction and a percent. You’re not supposed to do that, huh?”
“Yeah, but how often do you do it?” Ming asked.
“Point two of the time? No, point four?”
“Point four and a half?” he asked.
We were laughing. “Yeah, I used to do that,” I said. “Pitty my math teachers.”
The best math teacher I ever had was Mrs Blue in seventh and eighth grade. She would stand by my desk and explain stuff. She had complete faith in my intelligence. She seemed to enjoy what she did. I liked her awkwardness, her lovely attitudes. She could get annoyed, but never really mean.
When we made calculator mistakes, she would blame it on fat fingers. That always hurt my feelings, even though I wasn’t all that fat at the time.
You know I was in math club, which Mrs Blue ran. My bestie was phenomenal at math. I was pretty good at math, but not like my bestie.
We went to math contests. It was lotsa geeky boys, then me and my bestie, and all the teachers. I’m thinking Mrs Blue was an advanced feminist. She never made us feel bad for being the only girls. I think she was proud of us.
My bestie was amazing. She went to Berkeley on a full ride, as a math major. I’m thinking how brilliant and shining she was. Math was a real thing with right and wrong answers–all I could do was poetry, or rile people with weird editorials, or whatever I did–confuse people, give good hugs, play bassoon, make zines.
My bestie was golden and luminous–I always thought she was so great. But now I think maybe I was great too? Or kind of great, at least. I was doing a thing also, but a less recognized thing. Do you recognize what I’m doing? I was always the sidekick of my bestie–always the bridesmaid, never the bride? Oh wait, but I got married, a few times–she never did, to my knowledge.
The neighbors are fighting really loudly tonight. I don’t know how they learned to scream at each other like that. Who hurt them so badly?
Ming and I were discussing ancestors earlier. I was saying I thought they were mostly assholes. At least we have therapy now. He said there are assholes now and were assholes then, like it isn’t getting worse or better.
I told him about old time sacrificing people to ensure good crops, terrible customs, killing disabled people. Then I was like, well, we let homeless people die on the streets. It turned into a bummer of a conversation–sorry, sweetheart. Sorry, reader.
Sometimes Mrs Blue had chalk handprints on her butt. Yeah, we used real chalkboards back then. Right? Do you remember the chalk handprints? Why did she touch her butt so completely? Kind of confusing. I guess that’s the mystery of memory, the mystery of Mrs Blue.