Tag Archives: numbers

The Numbers Game

The Numbers Game

The numbers tumble at first, falling rapidly, swirling past my stout calves, up along my tree-trunk thighs and settling on my broad, starving, ever-expanding stomach. The thrill of the numbers shrinking is a high no drugs could ever reproduce in me. I laugh from my double chins, my rolls shaking, heaving. I have done this before; I can do it again. I will do it a million times over if I must. The first few days are heady with delight and obsession like a new lover but an old love affair remembered. I am beside myself with starvation, with renewed determination to see the scale swing down to where my self-worth was last seen waiting for me. Perhaps my sanity will be there too?

After a few days they stop, stalling. A stalemate. We stare at each other; this is hostile territory. A new lover becomes an old enemy. Swords drawn at dawn after a night of purging, I step on the scale to weigh my loathing and self-hatred. The needle swings past numbers that I long for, that I dream of, that I want more than this life itself. They speed past – up, up, upwards to places, figures, sums that I know will eventually kill me with their truth. I would get on my knees and pray if it would help my quest for thin. Plateaus of pain, of discontent, of frustration and the foreshadowing of what will come. There will never be a consolation prize for fat.

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Wastelands of Numbers

Wastelands of Numbers

I hope today that you count kisses instead of calories.

“Numbers surrounded us.
when we closed the door
at night, exhausted,
slipped beneath the door
and crept with us into bed,
and in our dreams
pounded at our foreheads
until they sank into the sea or madness
until the sun greeted us with its zero
and we went running
to begin again the infinite
1 of each new day.

We had time
to give things a number,
to add them up,
to reduce them
to powder,
wastelands of numbers.
We papered the world
with numbers
but things survived,
they fled from numbers,
went mad in their quantities,
evaporated,
leaving the numbers empty.

For you
I want things
Let numbers go to jail,
let them march
in perfect columns
until they give the sum
total of infinity.

Oh, the thirst to know
how many!
The hunger
to know
how many
stars in the sky!

We counted
colours, years,
lives, and kisses;”

Excerpts from ‘Ode To Numbers’ by Pablo Neruda

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