Eric Scot Tryon

Wrong Math

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.

Eric Scot Tryon

Eric Scot Tryon’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Glimmer TrainWillow SpringsMonkeybicycleX-R-A-Y Literary MagazineBerkeley Fiction ReviewWisconsin Review and others. Eric is also the Founding Editor of Flash Frog. He lives in Pleasant Hill, California with his wife, daughter, new kitten and two poison dart frogs. More info can be found at or on Twitter: @EricScotTryon.