He’d never been good at counting. Numbers didn’t mean much to him. One was enough. More than one? An abstraction.
It wasn’t that he didn’t understand numbers, he did. He knew the eternal feeling of eight, the bridging qualities of two. He had mourned the loneliness of three for longer than he cared to remember. Secretly, he feared the sternness of seven. The number came too close to comfort. Why he couldn’t say. It just seemed hard-hearted. He longed for the safety of nine.
People thought him strange. He thought the same of them, so he never noticed. He had enough friends. There was the one who made sure that he ate enough. The one who helped him pay his bills. And the one who laughed with him until their belly hurt. They were one. They were all. They didn’t hurt him. They didn’t hurt themself.
He knew numbers had a life of their own. But as numerals, they were insufficiently factual to him. Until one day the number eight got to him. He could feel it in his bones. It hurt him. He asked a friend to come over and bring an axe.
As one, they said goodbye. He aimed, slowly, and then struck, sharply. But when he cut eight in two, he cut too much to the left. Instead of two perfect halves, he was left with a three, and more than one leftovers. His friend laughed until his belly hurt. He said goodbye, before the loneliness of three could hurt him. Once more, he moved on.
My batting practice for https://godoggocafe.com/2020/03/14/writers-workshop-i-week-2-batting-practice/ We were asked to remove 10% of words from our version. I went from 320 words to 264. My main character still thinks it’s too much. He would prefer just one.
The picture I’ve added to the story today comes from a book I’ve made with my mother. The Dutch e-book is live since today, the hard back edition and PDF have been out since the end of February. I’m happy to share with you that the English edition is almost finished. I can’t wait!