Family, Fiction, Relationship and marriage, Writing

Tricky sums

‘Think of a number between 1 and 10,’ he said.

My brow creased as I mentally searched for a number, while wondering what idiotic trick he was about to pull. Brent was like that, always trying to trip me up, highlight my lack of maths skill.

‘Don’t tell me what it is!’

‘I wasn’t going to,’ I cried. ‘OK, got a number.’

‘Now double it.’

I did.

‘Remember it, won’t you?’

God, he was infuriating. I nodded my head. Sixteen.

‘Multiply by five. Add 165,’ Brent continued. His eyes were dancing, bright. He was clearly enjoying this. He could probably see the cogs turning in my brain.

Pretty sure I was up to 245 now. But I did get lost while multiplying. What was the point of these stupid things anyway! Other than to make Brent feel superior and me feel small, dumb and anxious.

‘Divide by 31.’ Brent said, by now almost hopping from foot to foot. He waited.

‘I don’t know. I can’t divide that sum in my head!’

He laughed, a cackle that scored my heart. ‘Come on,’ he said, wiping tears from his eyes. ‘It shouldn’t be this easy to mess with your head.’

‘Just fuck off Brent.’ I yelled.

‘Mum,’ called Brent, still laughing. ‘Sarah used the F-bomb!’


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