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Kymberlie Ingalls is native to the Bay Area in California. She is a pioneer in blogging, having self-published online since 1997. Her style is loose, experimental, and a journey in stream of consciousness. Works include personal essay, prose, short fictional stories, and a memoir in progress. Thank you for taking a moment of your time to visit. Beware of the occasional falling opinions. For editing services: http://www.kymberlieingalls.com/p/editing-services.html

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Numbers Game



I hate numbers.  Nothing good ever comes of them.  Subtraction and division always seem to follow adding and multiplying, much like our bank account these last few years.  There’s blood-sugar count numbers, blood-pressure numbers, and a bazillion others having to do with my deteriorating body.  I heard the dreaded weight number the other day from my doctor, ironically as she proclaimed “But your numbers are improving!”  Damn scientists - what do they know?

Well, I guess numbers are their thing.

And guess what?  I’ll be 40 soon.  Four weeks and counting.  It’s not the whole midlife thing that makes 40 such a crappy number, it’s the new rules that go with it.  Mammograms, physicals, new demographic boxes to check on those annoying surveys.  The looks… oh geez, the looks. 

Math was definitely not my strongest subject in school.  Put numbers in front of me and I was ready to jump out the second-story window.  Yes, I’d take a broken limb over an equation any day. 

Fractions.  Those aren’t much fun either.  I’ve had a lot of fractions and division in my life as of late.  People coming and going.  Going more than coming.  While the additions are of comfort as the days breeze by, it’s the subtractions that hit the hardest.  Death and dumping all around me.  The pain has become quite matter-of-fact for me, more numb than anything.  I’m not too sure how I feel about that.

Counting the days until the next.  How do I do that, when it’s such a vague number?  “The doctors said it could be a few years, or with any success, a normal life span.”  As I stared silently at my friend, searching my brain for the appropriate thing to say.  Appropriate isn’t exactly my specialty. 

I’m afraid that the numbers aren’t so generous with my other friend.  It sounds as though she may be down for the count, the seconds ticking loudly with every day that flies off the calendar, like in the animated Christmas specials.  When we’re young, we want time to sprout wings and carry us off in flight.  When we’re older, we curse time like the winged monkeys carrying us to the Wicked Witch. 

So, I count the days, one by one, as they are whisked away.  I am trying to cherish the moments I have with my friends without being all Hallmark-movie about it, but it’s hard sometimes.  Trying not to get caught in moments with my emotional pants down, if not for my own protection, for their benefit.  Normalcy is key in healing. 

Who is the one dying, though?  He is, and she is – we all are.  Day by day, we are one foot closer to the grave.  Why is it only when the doctors give us a number that we take it so seriously?

Sometimes the state I’m in is much further away than the state I’d like to be in – somewhere green, with hills, and open space.  

No, math has never been my strongest subject.  I’ll take that broken limb.  At least it’d be a pain I could feel.


Five For Fighting - 100 Years

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