Voyage 200

8-7-13     7:42am


I woke up early today. Mom and Don left for his MOHS. I ate oatmeal outside. My body is tired but I’m awake. Two of my fingertips are part numb. I am lounged on the couch.

I did something risky last night. I listed my Voyage 200 on Amazon. If you’re not familiar, the Voyage 200 is an incredibly fancy gadget, also known as a calculator.

For me it was a status symbol. Only a few of us had one. I would often borrow the teacher’s. Then I convinced the Department of Rehab to buy me one. I treasured but never used it. It’s still in the box. It’s been 5 years.

I love math. I always have. I got an award in the 5th grade for being the only student to ever ask for “more math please.” It was a puzzle, a game. It could twist my brain.

I loved calculus – especially my teacher. She was great. She made learning fun and turned it into a small group experience. I had 2 semesters with her. Then we had a falling out. It was more of a nuclear detonation. I had been in the hospital and was unable to drop her class. Instead of giving me an incomplete, as we’d discussed, she failed me. I haven’t gone back to math since.

I’ve held on to this calculator as a sign of hope, of what could be. I don’t want to let go of the dream. I was smart. I wanted to finish school. But every time I try I end up back inpatient. Yet the calculator is always there in the corner of the living room, both taunting and reminding me of what I could’ve been. What I still might be.

Now my need for money has surpassed my need for memory and it’s time to let it go. (deep sigh) It’s the only thing I own that’s worth anything. That’s a little disheartening to me. I think I’m ready to let go. I’ll most likely cry when it sells.

Voyage 200, here’s to the separate voyages ahead. May you find a safe, loving home. And may I find peace of mind.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2013

I Miss Math

10-19-10              8:34pm

I’m sitting at M’s listening to the rain. She’s taking a math test online. We’re cleaning her room.

I miss math so much. I miss the certainty. I miss knowing there is usually an answer. I miss feeling smart. And I miss Terrie.

Up until close to the end, math was always my friend. I got an award in 5th grade for being the only student who ever asked for “more math please.” When life is crazy and nothing makes sense and I need a moderately stressful yet intriguing and rewarding distraction, math is always there.

It is math that makes me believe I can be better than this. That maybe I could be a John Nash – someone who conquers their illness and actually succeeds. I like that feeling. I miss it. And I miss the way it feels to work that part of my brain – to strategize and remember.

Math does not care what I look like or who I am. It is not missing punctuation. At the right level it’s not confusing. It just makes sense. Plain and simple. When life can’t, math can. I miss math.


© Michelle Routhieaux 2010