6 – 2 = 1
When we’re supposed to meet at 6 outside the theater on our first date, and I wait for 2 hours like a fool, there is only 1 person sitting at the coffee shop alone when the movie lets out and couples and friends spill in through the doors, laughing and talking too loudly and reciting favorite lines.
5 x 7 = 2
When you text me 5 times a day for 7 days straight, sometimes apologizing for your stupidity and sometimes making excuses about your mother’s health – but which is it because it can’t be both which means it’s probably neither – it is then I decide I will give you 2 more chances. I even say this aloud to my dog Nelson to make it official.
4 + 2 = 0
When your mind blanks on my name for 4 seconds when I first meet your friends and then you repeat it 2 times as if cramming for a test you forgot to study for, I want to stay at the party for 0 more minutes to watch you laugh with them in ways you will never laugh with me. That counts, I say to Nelson when I get home. It may have been quick, but that still counts.
249 < 86 + 3
When you tell me that you love me 249 times over the next year, but it’s still not as meaningful as the 86 times that I tell you because I always make sure to say the full 3 words and you throw out “love ya” the same way you will toss treats to Nelson when we decide to share an apartment. But I accept the “ya” because you’re sweet to my parents, and always quick to hold my hand when we walk down the street.
1 / 55 = 1 (4 + 3) x 0
When you will still have that 1 chance left, divided and stretched and pulled thin over the 55 years we will be married. And that 1 chance will be excused and bargained and pardoned because we will have 4 beautiful children who will look at us as if their life depends on it, and we will have 3 houses, each with more rooms and a bigger mortgage and thicker memories than the previous. And I will always fall asleep quickly so as not to do the math and count the amount of times you have looked at me the way I want to be looked at.