Sadly I’m unlikely to have a reason to go to Tennessee in the near future, but I’ve provided this handy visual guide to help you distinguish between the snuffly-nosed playful cutie-pie and the otter who’s named after him…
24 is your age and you wouldn’t be able to tell by the smooth blush of your cheek, the constellation-kissed skin of your nose. you could be fifteen by the shrug of your blazer around your narrow shoulders, but you’re 24 and you’re too old to be playing the spy.
18 is the number of steps to the basement. 18 is the one-two one-two click of kitten heels on dirty cement and side-step around a white collared, glossy-badged senior agent who doesn’t even see you because you’re 18 steps closer to below ground, 18 steps closer to the invisibility he wears like a cloak, 18 steps closer.
7 seconds is how long he shakes your hand, swings it back and forth like a play-ground swing. he feeds you lines from your thesis, knew your mind before he knew your face. the projector paints you in the supernatural. you blink against the light when he smiles.
3 is the number of syllables he drawls into “plausible” like he’s reversing the definition. he’s a half-finished magic trick, and you watch him to try and catch him stutter in his sleight of hand.
30000 feet is how high you are above the ground and you were always endlessly earthbound, sea-legs, rock of the tide. he closes his eyes, stretches across the seat across the aisle like he owns it, like it’s his own leather couch (and you don’t know if he has a leather couch, but you think he should) and you think you like that, the way he touches things like they’re already familiar.
295 miles is the length of oregon east to west, sunrise to sunset. he drives with one hand on the wheel and asks you about eschatology. you’re not squeamish about these things, but your stomach does a half-turn low in your abdomen every quarter of a mile. you laugh and the window sends it back to you packaged like an echo.
1 is the number of possible alien bodies you discover in a cracked casket. it is a marked increase from the number you expected. you push your glasses up higher on your nose and tell him so with the slant of your gaze.
11 pm is the time it is when you turn him away from your door, bouncing on his heels like a beta wave that’s breaking away from its core. you rub the curtains through your hands, paperback pages between your thumb and forefinger, and lose sight of him across the dark, wet horizon.
5 is the number on his motel door when you knock out a nervous rhythm against the wood. three, you think, was the number of spots clustered low on the base of your spine and years from now you’ll think - you’ll think something must have changed, a realignment of poles, when he pressed candle-warmed fingers to the skin just above the dip of your hips: the place on your skin you’d deemed its own x-file. and it’s fitting, it’s somehow un-ironic, that this inexplicable spot is the first place he touches you.
200 is the thread count of the motel sheets. they are seedy love-affair sheets, dime-store romance cotton made to be used, abused, tangled and gripped in fists. they are secret-telling sheets, and he lowers his voice against the side of the bed. you rest your cheek on your hand while the moon plays the mathematician against the curve of his jaw, calculating angles on the lines of his cheeks. he tells you stories without endings until the phone rings.
113 is the number of raindrops that fall per square foot per second during a thunderstorm. but the number feels exponential, raised to a higher degree in the early morning of an oregon graveyard. your logic presses against his hypothetical like trees blown together against wind. twin smiles crack across your faces like lightning. you laugh in tandem and, even for a scientist, the decibels are incalculable.
12 is the number of impossible tasks hercules overcame to obtain salvation. your mind dwells on myth but functions in rationale; he speaks in legends and twists tales with his tongue. you put down the phone and pick up your weapons. this is the numerology of beginnings. this is step one.
nine is the number of minutes you lose when you look at him (episode 1) // j.a.s
Hey if you have a line that needs changed every week then I have a tip for you! Instead of them just ripping it off or using those remover whips (ask for those first and see if you like them) they have these adhesive removing sticks. You snap them just like you would a glow stick to make it work. They work great at removing the dressing without the oil feeling. Much quicker and much cleaner!
As you grow up, there is this line they feed you like factory-line bread: “goals are important”. This is not an idea that will fill your stomach. It will swell in your throat and choke you like stone. Because goals are important the way breathing is important, but breathing underwater is very different from breathing on land. And when they don’t tell you that not everyone stretches the same way, you start trying on shoes that don’t fit, and shoes that don’t fit will only fill up with water.
Somebody out there might have grocery lists that start with waking up at dawn to catch the sun’s first kiss before the trees do. Somebody out there might need till dinnertime to unhinge their mouth and ask for change at the laundromat’s. I have been both of these people. There were years when telling my grandma good night was the kindest thing I could do for anyone. And there were years when I stared out the window of a flight a thousand miles above death and watched oceans unspool into new lives I hadn’t breathed into yet.
Whatever your goals are for today, you owe it to yourself not to pin it up next to anyone else’s. You are not a butterfly exhibit at a county fair. No one can count your wingspans without knowing which forest you called home.
“A Necessary Disclaimer for Productivity Apps”, Natalie Wee
Just managed to catch some morning light today cause I slept in 😌 and did some work, mostly math but I have a tendency to scribble working out and cross things all over the place so those are hidden away.