Thousand Word Challenge – THE RIGHT ANGLE : “Minerva”

right angle
Many kinds of angles do exist, but only one amazed Pythagoras. In a right triangle, it states that “The square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.” This theorem seems to be simple, but it hides some traps.

At the beginning we were in balance, but later on, as you two were convinced of being perfect, I had an idea. I decided that the curious triad we formed deserved to be at least a right triangle, with its three sides, squares roots and all the mysteries. Remember that the theoreme, stated algebraically is: a2 + b2 = c2 .

So, from this moment, I will name my two friends a2 and b2. For myself, I award the honor to be the hypotenuse (the side opposite the right angle). I know that my square root[1] (√ 2) will fool the mathematicians, but Pythagoras already said: ”The ones who do not know geometry,are not welcomed in my school.”

First of all, I must point out that we formed an scalene triangle. Our sides were drastically unequal: b2 was a senior, struggling steadily to demonstrate that he was older, but more erudite than a2. As soon as he realized that being an old married one put him in disadvantage, he quickly designed a strategy to conquer me.

It consisted of yielding the area to a2, at least seemingly. As a2 and I were always sitting down together, b2 agreed to accommodate in the later row and observe us from the rear. Also he learned to fade away when he found us engaged in a never ending talk.

Watch out for trickster old men! Out of the classrooms everything was changing. With the excuse of exchanging notes, b2 used to put on airs, arranging appointments with me in pricey coffees, ready to enjoy a good meal and touch my tights if needed.

This “session” was usually completed with a tour, visiting some villages with a gothic or baroque church, where he could impress me with his knowledge of art. Also he tried the eternal trick of reducing my self-confidence, making me appear as an unfortunate maiden whom he only could rescue. But his generosity was claiming to feel like Eros in arms of Psyche. Undoubtedly, he forgot the hearts attacks that his bull heart had suffered for pushing life too strongly.

We all know how prehistoric men were dragging ladies from their hair to be brought into the caves, but this habit turns out to be less perverse than this vile masculine blackmail: “You will get treasures if I get a good night affair”. Offering help in exchange for favors is the worst snare I have ever known. And nothing and no one will make me change my mind. Not even Darwin, with his determination for making us believe that men have evolved.

Although I rejected without mercy the proposals of b2, I felt more and more attracted by the shy and presumptuous a2. He immediately perceived the signs and his heart fought the big battle. On the one hand, his male pride led him to cross seas of euphoria. On the other hand, his insecurity dragged him to the bottom of the lake where he delighted staring at his reflected image, like Narcissus.

Suddenly, his geometric intellect, his steady rudder always leading him to well-known harbours, does not know what to do with the tingling of chemistry. His soul of prodigy child feels equally inspired and lost: neither it fits in his body nor he knows where to hide his rising shadows.

At first he played like a feline sniffing his prey, but soon the fun became torture. I will never forget that “I will go where you go,” that one day he said to me when I had only asked him if he was coming to the library. I am sure that, after the years, he still regrets his weakness.

So, the game continued and I saw how much they were behaving like the fish Betta, the famous “Fighters of Siam. “The male fish use to exhibit their elegant fins in the shape of range. If you put two males in the same aquarium they will fight to death. This would never happen between my two friends, because both know subtler ways to get rid of an opponent.

I continued playing hide and seek with a2 for some time. Our goings and comings were lost through the labyrinthine hallways of the college. We were using them as traps. No rules for this game, punishment was also reward. Some times we were looking for each other under the vaults of the crypt, but other days we missed classes, trying not to meet. Anything but succumb! Have triangles ever caused magnetic fields? Nobody knows.

One day b2 called me to say that he had 6 months of life left. What could I say? He had said it like someone who comments that the electricity bill has raised. I tried to encourage him, of course. I walked him for the last times, but I even did not give him a kiss, since kissing for piety sounds like false coins among dodgy fingers.

When one of our sides missed, our triangle collapsed instantly. I strived for hurting the pride of a2 and he tried to take revenge, but the battle between curved and straight lines is gained in advance. The sides of our triangle were too straight, too perfect, but they broke under pressure. On the contrary, the hypotenuse stood impassible. She looked like a pure straight line by all appearances, but it was just an illusory effect. Her secret weapon was not other one that her aptitude to bow. A lethal weapon hidden in her square root of infinite decimals. I am sure that Einstein would have agreed. The curvatures support the whole Universe because they can collapse, but never break up.

Time has passed and by force of habit, I keep looking for a right angle.

[1] The square root of 2 is irrational and therefore, cannot be expressed as a ratio of two integers.

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