Hiatus is Over


I really suck as this blog thing, but I’m hoping to turn that around. To celebrate the return, I will share with you something I wrote as part of a Superbowl bet with some friends. This is 100% fiction, based on a prompt given by the person who won the bet.

“By The Numbers”

Numbers have always been the most important and constant thing in my life. In high school, I knew that numbers would be with me all the rest of my life, and I was happy with that. The numbers didn’t lie, the numbers were always the same, and unlike everything and everyone else in my life, I knew the numbers would always be there for me.

By the time I finished college, I was convinced that I had no use for any other people in my life. Most of my experiences that followed only drove this home to me. However, two days after my twenty-seventh year, I met the first person who ever made me think that theory was wrong.

She got me, and she actually seemed to enjoy my more anti-social traits. Before I knew what was happening, she was part of my every thought, and after twenty-two months of trying to deny it, I said, “I do,” to never spending another day without her.

My life was complete, and unlike my original vision, it wasn’t by being alone. I shared my life and everything else with this woman who made me feel like the most important thing in the world for the first time in my life. And in thirty-eight weeks, she also showed me that it had absolutely nothing to do with me. The moment that precious little girl was placed in my hands, I learned it was never about me, and I knew that I would spend the rest of my life making the world perfect for her.

The diapers, the tea parties, the barrettes, the tears, the giggles, the scraped knees, and the first experiments with clothes and make-up were only the beginning of our lives as parents. The first day of school, the other kids, the school work, the recitals and school programs, and then the parties, the after-school activities, the dances, and the boys. But it was eight thousand, one hundred, and thirty-nine days until my greatest trial as a father. That was the day I had to put her hand into that of another man, as they promised to not to spend another day without each other.

I lived a full and wide life; full of learning, full of living, full of loving, and wide with joy, as well as the love of others. I knew that love made the world go round, because I had seen it in action. For two hundred nineteen thousand, eight hundred and seventy-six hours, I knew the full breadth and depth of love, and what it could do. And at two hundred nineteen thousand, eight hundred and seventy-seven hours, I understood what true sorrow was all about, as I watched the last breath leave my wife’s body. I was sure I wouldn’t be able live without her, but she knew better, as she always did.

I found my reason to live in the three hundred eighty-three thousand, and fourty minutes of my daughter’s pregnancy, when she showed me the true meaning of immortality. They put that tiny little girl in my hands and as I stared into the eyes of infinity, the eyes of my wife stared back at me. I knew in that moment that our love would go on forever, because this baby girl carried its legacy in the delicate wisps of hair forming her halo, and the feel of her miniature digits gripped around my pinkie finger.

Living life by the numbers is all about counting the most important moments and letting their sum total define you. But sometimes, it is the smallest number that can change everything. It was the one hundredth time I’d been to that mall, so I knew the perfect table to sit at in the food court to give us room for the stroller, and privacy in case the baby needed feeding. It was the seventh week in a row we had been going out to lunch to help my daughter deal with new mommy cabin fever. Three months of coos and smiles from the perfect pink baby being lifted out of the stroller to stretch her arms. And it was a hundred and eight seconds between the moment I feared it would all be destroyed, and the moment I knew the true meaning of love and my life. One hundred and eight seconds from the instant I saw the man enter the food court with a gun, until I saw him fall to the ground, with the security guard standing above him, as I lay between him and my family. One hundred and nine seconds was all I needed in order to know they were safe, before my eyes closed for the last time.

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