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A Calculus Confession

April 26, 2013

(Inspiration is this piece from the Thought Catalog.)

Little Flower,

I know that our life together has been filled with small, infinitesimal actions toward each other, with some big ones that stand out like peaks on the dull chromatogram of our common life. But take one and the other together, over and over and over, and you will find that the definite integral from when we first met to now is already large. Or that’s just me and my calculitic mind, because what if you only took the tangents and constructed derivatives? Some negative ones, some positive ones.

Ah, the struggles. Where I was declaiming about increased area you talk of negative slopes. Did you take second derivatives and find that you liked me more slowly now than you first did? Or that you loathed me more easily than you did before?

It is all so confusing, but do not worry. Even if you measure negative slopes, I will never measure negative area. Nothing will cancel with me. And regarding you, I can chance upon a day when you measure a positive slope, and I will regale you with “increasing area!”. The funniest thing about you, Flower, is that you measure derivatives. They don’t really cancel over time – they’re meant to be instantaneous. I measure areas, and add the totals, so if I measure negative area, I might have to cancel. But no, for you I won’t.

I will always remember the first day like it was today. I love you so much (as anything, really), and that’s that. But I remain

Sincerely and terribly unattached,

Chao-wei

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