John Tames: Part 7

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Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6

 

I love math.

The constant rules and definitive answers. I can always count on it.

A math problem is a wonderful puzzle. It can be pulled apart and picked at. Rearranged until a solution emerges. And there’s always a buzz that comes with discovering the right number to make everything fall into place.

No equation is unsolvable. Even if the answer is so minute it is impossible to see or process, it is there. There is always a solution.

I’m left handed. And for as long as I can remember, the side of my hand has always been covered in smudges. Blue or black ink, and pencil lead. I get so involved scribbling down digits that I can’t stop to think about lifting my hand. So by the time I reach the end of my proofs, I look back and can hardly make out how I got there. Not that it really matters once I know the answer. I always check it, and I find I am usually correct.

I think I fell in love with math when I was thirteen. My math teacher, Ms.Gomez, was so supportive. Most of the other kids in my class grumbled about all the assignments she’d hand out, but I looked forward to them.

After we got back a test one day, she asked me to stay after class. The bell rang and everyone else rushed out the door. I stood by her desk, backpack heavy on my shoulders.

“How are you John?” She finished clacking away on her keyboard and turned to smile at me.

“I’m alright. What did you want to talk to me about? Did I do something wrong?”

“Oh, no, not at all. Quite the opposite in fact. John, you have a talent. You are proving to be a promising mathematician. Have you ever considered really pursuing the subject?”

“Um. I don’t know. I really like math, and I enjoy your homework very much. But how would I pursue it?”

Ms.Gomez grinned and reached inside her desk. She pulled out a stapled packet of white papers with a lot of words on it. “How would you like to join the schools Math Club? We meet every Tuesday after school, and once a month we go to competitions. We could really use you.” She held out the papers to me.

I ground my teeth for half a second then exclaimed, “Sure!”

I’d never been needed before. And who knew, maybe I could even make some friends. The similar interest was there. I was told that was how things worked.

It was Monday. So if I got the packet signed as soon as I got home, then I could start the club the next day. I leafed through its contents and my excitement grew.

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