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The Math Majors

Why don’t we just get together?

He’s never going to say yes.

Why don’t we just—

He’s going to reject me.

Why don’t we just—

Ugh.

There he went again. I could see him in the distance, on the other end of the courtyard, hurrying to catch up with his friends. Though his expression was carefree, one of his hands clutched the strap of his book bag with the gentle intensity of a mother holding her child’s hand. His studies were never far from his mind; for all that he was fun—the life of the party, they said—he was a serious student.

That’s why they said we’d wind up together, I think. It had nothing to do with the way we were both math majors who did some acting on the side, just because we loved it. It had nothing to do with us both being vegetarians, or both having chosen to live in International House our first three years of college, because we were so interested in other cultures. It didn’t even have anything to do with the fact that he looked like a god incarnate and I—though I wouldn’t claim to be nearly so attractive—had a very fashion-conscious wardrobe in which absolutely everything was a size two. No, it was just because, even in this sea of academic aptitude, we were the two most serious students to be found.

Rather clandestinely, we were friends. Sharing a major and a demanding extracurricular, of course, we spent a lot of time together, but we each had our own groups, mostly based on our roommates’ friends. People didn’t know that we ran lines together by the little creek across from the Biology building, or that we sometimes went into the city together for coffee or sweets while discussing what we’d done recently with linear algebra, Shakespeare, or vector calculus. I’d always accepted the slight air of secrecy that surrounded our friendship. He had his crowd; I had mine.

But it was fall of our senior year, and I was beginning to wonder if people were right. Since freshman year, they’d been saying we’d end up married, or at least have a serious relationship. I’d protested—we were too similar, after all, and I was eighteen and scared of commitment. But now I was twenty-one—twenty-one and single and quite possibly in love.

And why weren’t we together? We were perhaps all too alike, but we got along marvelously in spite of it.

Hey, Tony!

I could hear it in my head.

Hey, Tony, why don’t we just get together?



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