I am a lot of work, he tells me.

I am a lot of work.

I am Schrodinger’s equation, Green’s functions, vector calculus.  I am gradients that need descent.  My solutions don’t always converge.  I require thought and concentration and effort.  Critical thinking.  I offer too much complexity, too many twists and turns.  I ask questions that don’t have simple answers.  Sometimes I tell him that he is wrong.

She is easy.  She is two plus two.  Instant answers with no effort.  Quick solutions that offer little insight, but he can be right every time.  He can show his friends a ten out of ten on his math test, even if it is at first grade level.   They can’t tell the difference anyway and it makes him feel good to love a girl who calls her mother “Mommy” and brags about the gifts she gets, but doesn’t complain when he snores.  Depth is over-rated.  No one else can see it.

I am a lot of work.

I am an artichoke.  Not only do I require preparation, but each leaf must be peeled off and the flesh gently gouged out with your teeth.  I am spikey and delicate.  I make mistakes.  I forget things that I don’t write down.  Sometimes I even forget to write them down.  I spend too much time worrying.  The downy part of my interior choke can make you gag.  My face makes expressions.  With effort you can get to my savory heart, or you can just give up and eat a tomato.   I am not for the faint of heart.

She is a French fry.  No commitment is required.  Pop it in your mouth and go.  Mass produced for a general audience.  Simple, easy, unable to discern a “moral” from “morale”.  Life is an unending series of selfies and daddy-sponsored holidays.  There is no pain, and no self-doubt.  She doesn’t try too hard or offer too much.  She always tastes good and leaves him a little greasy.

I am a lot of work.

Perhaps in a few years she will become a lot of work.  When life becomes less breezy, and children, or work or aging parents creep into the picture.  Perhaps she will become demanding and begin to ask for things, or perhaps she will begin to notice the lies and deceit.   Perhaps she will see the two faces, public and private, that he carries and the constant need for attention.  Maybe she is smarter than I am and will notice quickly.  Or maybe it will take her years.

I used to think he was complicated.  He was a kit from Ikea with directions in Chinese and no pictures, just parts scattered everywhere that should somehow make a shelf.  Maybe there is something missing?  I really need to learn Chinese.

Now I see that he is simple.  A shiny exterior with no soul.  All energy is devoted to relentless pursuit of image and maintaining the illusion of perfection.  Partnership cannot exist.  Love cannot exist.  He is broken inside and needs constant adoration.  Any criticism is a violation.   He is a shark that will eat everything in its path, always hungry for more.  No one is ever enough.  But he is simple.  He is two plus two.
They are a match made in heaven.

I wonder if the world maybe has some better mathematicians willing to work a little harder to figure me out.  I am not sure.  I wonder if I should try to be a French fry, but I don’t do well with disguises.   Maybe love will come, maybe not.  Meanwhile I am working on recipes for artichokes.


Alyssa is a recently separated mother of two coming to terms with the sudden demise of her 18 year marriage.  She is also coincidentally an Electrical Engineering Professor and a top notch sarcastic bitch, just ask her students.  This is her first literary submission, and quite different from her previously published work on integrated circuits.

Wannabee BLUNT

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1 Comment

  1. I really enjoyed reading this article–primarily for its humor and imagery and how well it was written. (I figured you for a professor in a different discipline.) I did NOT enjoy reading it because I could feel the pain; seriously, I have literally felt this pain.

    Too much work. Think too much. Talk to much. Feel too much.

    I’m just “too much.”

    And, yet, at the same time – not enough.

    Hugs and high-fives to you, lady. Hang in there, love those kids like there’s no tomorrow, and keep being YOU.

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