Love by Numbers

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At 8.05 am, under a 64% cloudy sky and facing a wind of 21 miles per hour, Najwa’s hand rose again between 52 kilograms of luggage, trying to hail a taxi. Drivers kept on picking up people who were faster than her, or ignoring her due to the extensive amount of luggage they’d have to carry.

At the other side of the road Alex rushed into a taxi pushing aside, 80% involuntarily, a man as old as the finest French wine available in the corner store. He was late for an important job interview in which he’d definitely have succeeded, considering the other candidates had broken a leg and run over the interviewer’s dog, respectively. But the 20% that voluntarily pushed the man generated a feeling of guilt that made Alex go back at a slow motion speed and open the door for him. He looked around for the next available taxi, but it was already too late.

He wasn’t late for his interview. Actually, if and only if he had taken the next taxi, a leaf falling from the 37th tree of Hamill street would have hit a little wasp that, disoriented by it, would have flown against the windscreen of a slow driver’s car, causing him to speed up 2 miles per hour, just enough to allow him to get to the next traffic light on time. That event would have avoided a traffic jam, with the global result that Alex would have got to the company building 5 minutes and 37 seconds before his appointment and, after a brief introduction to the woman in the help desk, he’d have arrived to the door of the interviewing room 2 minutes, 12 seconds and half a sigh before the stipulated time. He definitely wasn’t late that way.

He was late though, because he looked at the other side of the road and spotted a graceful hand waving among a mountain of suitcases. As if moved by a rush of 150 milligrams of noradrenaline, he crossed the road at three quarters of the greatest speed ever reached by man, with his heart beating at one ninth the rate of a hummingbird’s. That was unnoticed by Najwa until he hit one of her suitcases with the force of an average sea wave reaching the shore, causing it to tilt half the angle he’d have leaned in to kiss her.

She turned to him and started an insult, moved by the intense anger triggered in the amygdala of her brain. That activity disappeared exponentially fast as Alex got into the middle of the road risking being hit by a taxi that would have killed him four times due to several injuries in the head, the lungs, the liver and the femoral vein. The heart would have been left intact, though.

But the taxi eventually stopped as the driver swore at an average speed of 4.3 words per second. Alex opened the car trunk and started putting the luggage inside as Najwa’s mouth opened to form a 90% perfect circle. He approached her and they stared at each other for a 3 second-long eternity, finally interrupted by the 440 Hertz of the taxi horn.

700 milligrams of oestrogen later, she realized she was 28 minutes, 49 seconds and two potential kisses behind schedule, so she entered the taxi carrying her last suitcase. The driver started the car, and sped off, his stress level at a dangerous 82%.

Najwa looked through the window at the stranger, who was disappearing at half a broken heart a minute. She tore off the label of her suitcase, on which her phone number was written, and threw it out of the window. Regrettably, the combined speed of the taxi and the 21 mile per hour wind was nearly twice the maximum speed Alex could have run, and the paper flew away and away…

… until a 90% happy old man, very improbably the one Alex offered the taxi to, grabbed it from the air and handed it to our 40-milliliters-of-sweat-hero. After all, we cannot rely only on numbers, C4N W3?


Photo: Números by Public Domain Pictures, used with license Public Domain CC0.

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