after Olivia Muenz
Welcome in. Close the door behind you please. I’d like it if you took off your shoes. I just had this carpet cleaned. Last week. Welcome in. This is what will win me the Pulitzer. This is my brain. On calculus. Or on music. You can decide. Both infinite series diverge. Don’t be afraid. Mostly it’s just learning a different way to measure. Frequency. New type of vibration. Left foot right foot. One one half one third one fourth. You get it. The same thing goes on and on forever. Don’t be afraid. The limit tends to zero.
Welcome in. I’m not very good at conversation. Mostly I just like plucking a string and watching it. Curl. This is my brain. On medicine. The kind prescribed by my doctor. This is my magnum opus. I’d like you to turn the pages for me please. You’ll know when. Just watch my hands move on the piano.
Welcome in. Did you know there are ten tests just to find out whether a series converges? Did you know all this one collapses to is a string’s fundamental wavelength? Did you know a pattern is only as strong as when. You break it.
Welcome in. Take a seat. The show is about to start. Look. I have my conductor’s baton. And everything. The orchestra only plays in harmonic minor keys. Don’t you think they sound beautiful? I composed this piece myself. The trick is in the negative space. Every number makes a sound if you listen hard enough. Every sequence has its own melody. Can you hear it? Can you hear me? Do you understand what I mean?
Welcome in. I’d teach you number theory if I thought I could explain it. Or if I knew enough. Myself. Here. I have a present for you. It’s a theorem. Or a story. You can decide. I proved it myself.
Welcome in. I’ll put away your coat. Do you like what I made for dinner? It’s a song. I hope you’re listening. Fall down one rabbit hole and you’ll end up in another. There will always be a missing piece at the center of you. Come on. Just give in. Stop fighting the math. Everything scatters to infinity eventually.
Welcome in. What’s your favorite type of number? Mine are primes. See also. Twin stars. Richocheting bullets. An orchestra playing in the dark to a sold-out stadium. The type of tremor that makes your teeth chatter. The type of sound so all-consuming that it digs its way down down down into your bone marrow. Can you hear it? Can you hear me? Do you understand what I mean—
Welcome in. This is my home. This is what I have dedicated my life to. Loving.This is an equation masquerading as a song masquerading as a person. This is what makes me up. Or what kills me. You can decide. Can you see it? Can you smell it? It’s all over the walls.
Welcome in. Sorry for the lecture. I’m not usually the talking kind. Here. This is some chalk. This is a blackboard. Do you think maybe we could solve the puzzle. Together.
Welcome in. What’s your favorite song? Mine is the silence before a standing ovation. See also. Dark matter. Synaptic connection. The final exhilarating gasp-out-loud step before the answer arrives. The moment where you realize what it was for to begin with.
Welcome in. Do you want to dance. With me. Here. I’ll put on a record. It’s a good one. I promise.
Welcome in. You can put down your chalk now. This is it. This is all there is. I have to ask. Have you been listening? Have you thought about what I said earlier? That the sequence always ends the same way. And by that I mean it doesn’t. The same thing goes on and on forever. One fifth one sixth one seventh one eighth. If you’re quiet sometimes you can hear it. No string ever stops vibrating. Don’t you get it? Every infinity is self-contained.
Leela Raj-Sankar is an Indian-American teenager from Arizona. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rejection Letters, Brave Voices Magazine, and CLOVES Literary, among others. In his spare time, he can usually be found watching bad television or taking long naps. Say hi to her on Twitter @sickgirlisms.