Letter to a Man Who Once Called Me “Astoundingly Intelligent”
Just so you know,
I suck at math.
I suck at math,
And I’ve never made an attempt
To really change that.
I got an A in Trigonometry,
But that would be easy.
I could have gotten an A in Trigonometry
Simply by showing up everyday,
Which I didn’t.
I exploited loopholes to get an A in Trigonometry.
I showed up every other day.
I did homework and handed it in every other day,
Which you could do and get full credit.
I did half of my homework,
And at that, I cheated.
The second semester,
I didn’t get an A in Trigonometry.
In the second semester,
I showed up every third day
But not exactly.
My teacher pointed this out
And with a quiet smile
Like the kind of smile he was good at,
Told me my grades had slipped
But he believed that I could do it.
He was an innocent man,
Had a haircut and manner of dress
Which suggested to me
That his wife was actually his mother,
That he was a choir boy as a young one,
And that he was probably, now, a robot.
I got a B in Trigonometry
That first quarter of the second semester.
When he told me he believed in me,
It slipped lower to a C.
I failed him.
He still believed in me.
I stopped going to Trigonometry.
I hid in the bathroom, drawing circles
And stick figures of people that I hated
Or I loved.
“I should be in math class,
But I’m not.
I’m a genius.”
I felt like a genius,
Getting dizzy from the permanent marker smell
And the nervousness of hall monitors
Drifting in and out at odd intervals,
I nearly passed out once or twice
And once or twice, I did.
I got suspended for several days,
But I don’t remember how many.
I have always been bad at math,
At many things.
I am an idiot
And I fuck up quite often.
Just so you know.
I fuck up.