by Horia Varlan

The 10th Happy Number

The 6th of November

In mathematics, a happy number is a number upon which one can perform a simple bit of arithmetic over and over again and it will eventually arrive upon and remain at the number 1. As it turns out, today is my 10th happy number birthday.

I am neither what I might have expected nor what I believe I ought to be but I am thankful for my family, my friends, and all that makes me who I continue to become (except perhaps for whatever I’ve eaten that has made me this … chubby).

I wish that I could somehow magically inhabit a neighborhood of beaches, arrondissements, quartiers, churches, forests, and minarets where all of my friends, confidents, and loved ones exist. Everywhere I went, I would see your faces and those of your children, ex-lovers, and priests. I would hear your music, scent your perfumes, and sample your recipes.

I would always linger too long at each stop chatting, arguing, gossiping, laughing, and perhaps crying. I would be always tardy but never too late. I would arrive at home to find you sitting on my porch or perhaps slicing vegetables in my kitchen. Your new haircut or my old outfit. A blessed arrival or a sorrowful passing. A fistful of insignificant details that resolve into a ground-shaking epiphany. My children would be your children. My story ever part of your own.

You would know where to find the salt in my pantry and I would know where you kept my favorite blanket when I slept on your couch. Being part of each others stories — really and truly part of each others stories — would help us to recognize the vast differences between lonely and solitude, between cat and dog, between the salient and the ephemeral.

Its my 10th happy number birthday today and I hope to see you around my neighborhood.

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