Actually, things with Rose aren't too different from Alex Danvers' current arc in "Supergirl". (Which on the one hand is kind of weird, but on the other hand means I'm dealing with topics that are partially mainstream...) Rose also decided the narrative would go first person; I feel lucky that I was able to insist on a serialized format with math. So here, at the halfway point, I present the main cast, and an excerpt. If you're interested in another excerpt, let me know! I'm not sure when/if I'll actually post the whole 50k thing.
- ROSEMARY "ROSE" THORNE: First year university student, taking music. Is having math dreams, and pretty quickly into the narrative, she realizes she is gay.
- SINE: Personified mathematical function. Rose's dream confidant with some problems of her own.
- SEIKO YOSHIDA: First year university student, taking math. Rose's roommate.
- PAIGE FOURIER: First year university student, taking math but minoring in music. The girl who caused Rose to confront her feelings.
- MARC BRIDGEWOOD: First year university student, taking music. Someone Rose knew from back in high school.
EXCERPT FROM "THE GIRL WHO SPEAKS WITH ALGEBRA"
(From Page 31)
“So you’re saying math functions can have relationships like we humans do?”
“I suppose. I don’t know how humans do relationships. You’re asking a lot of questions today,” Sine pointed out.
“Yeah.” I frowned. “Sorry?”
“No, growth mindset, I like it. But I feel like maybe I don’t have the proper foundation to understand all your questions, in the same way you don’t have the proper foundation to understand all my answers.”
“I don’t understand being a lesbian either, that hasn’t seemed to stop me.”
“Hm. You seem to be obsessing over that detail today.”
“Kinda sorta.” My hands ran back through my hair, knocking my hat off. I’d forgotten I was even wearing it here. “Okay, here’s something we can talk about. You claim anyone can math, through this growth mindset, right? Just a matter of saying you can’t math YET. But you will. Yes?”
“I think so. It’s likely one of those concepts that bleeds through from the human world, actually.”
“Then does that work with sexuality? Was I once heterosexual, because I couldn’t lesbian YET? Or like Lady Gaga claims, was I born this way, meaning I’m simply obtuse?”
Sine pursed her lips. “I’m assuming obtuse in this context doesn’t mean an angle which is greater than ninety degrees, and yet less than one-hundred-eighty.”
“No, I mean obtuse in the context of I’m dense as a post.”
“Okay. I won’t ask about Lady Gaga.” Sine made a gesture, and two deck chairs appeared. She sat down in one, nodding towards the other. I joined her.
“Here’s how I interpret that,” Sine said. “I was born as trigonometry. I can’t really change that, even assuming I wanted to. But I don’t have to stay in my base form. With practice, I can change my amplitude, my displacement and my period. Heck, if enough of us Sines get together, we can look like something totally different.”
“Huh. Must be great, having control over your period.”
Sine smiled. “Don’t evade my point. It had some dimension to it.”
I stretched out in the deck chair, my hands behind my head. “So what you’re saying is, some stuff like sexuality is baked in, while other stuff like learning is what we can control, given enough effort. I suppose I’ll buy that, but then how does one tell the difference? Like what stuff is inherent at the start, and what isn’t?”
“I have no idea. Barring knowledge of genetics, it seems like each item is something that would need to be addressed on a case-by-case basis, whether we’re talking about mathematics or humans. Identifying being one of those things that nobody has fully figured out – yet.”
“But then how can we sometimes miss obvious baked in stuff?” I pressed. “Like, no one would mistake you for being a... a polynomial, would they?” She’d mentioned those in the context of QT. Were polynomials more inclined to being lesbians, maybe?
“Well, first of all, it’s easier to look at others than at ourselves,” Sine mused. “I have no trouble talking with Cosine for instance, whereas it’s always a bit unsettling, talking to a ‘sin(x)+1’. I sometimes think, wow, is that what I look like? And I wonder, how did I end up being the one in charge of her and everybody else.”
“I’m not a fan of mirrors,” I agreed. “Maybe that’s why I don’t wear much makeup. But then, lesbians aren’t supposed to wear makeup, are they? So maybe I was – no, then again, Paige wears makeup, and she’s a lesbian. I think.” I grimaced. “Maybe I should simply stop stereotyping, huh?”
Sine nodded. “Stereotypes and labels can be a problem,” she agreed. “But to return to your original question, if you zoom far enough in on my curves, and only make a casual observation? You can’t necessarily distinguish my graph from a polynomial parabola. Even though we’re very different.”
“So you’re saying I did miss the obvious stuff about myself,” I concluded. “I didn’t analyze properly, and somehow thought I was trig, when all along I was polynomial.”
“You saw what you expected to see,” Sine said. “Which is probably connected to whatever your human society believes to be typical. After all, if you’re surrounded by periodic functions in the media, it never occurs to you that you might not be a periodic function as well. But don’t misunderstand me, this doesn’t mean that everyone else around you saw the truth either.”
“Oh no,” I protested. “They did. They must have. They’re a lot smarter than I am.”
“Rose, they’re surrounded by the same society that you are.” Sine peered at me. “Also, you’re hardly stupid, as you’ve somehow managed to bridge the gap between humans and mathematical relations. Give yourself more credit.”
“Sine, I don’t know how I’m doing this,” I protested. “And talking to math, it’s hardly a useful skill!”
“Oh. Then you’re saying talking to me isn’t useful?”
DAMN it. I had to stop saying insulting things like that. “No. I’m saying I put my foot in my mouth too much. Other people don’t.”
“I’m sure other people do, but maybe it’s easier to forgive them, or to miss their words entirely.” Sine chewed briefly on her lower lip. “Listen, Rose, when you go back to your human world, can you do me a favour?”
“Heck yeah, you’re being amazing to me. Very useful. Don’t let me tell you otherwise.”
“Can you research Hilbert Curves?”
I nodded. “Sure. Any particular reason?”
She drew in a shaky breath. “That’s what killed me, and brought me here. I was trapped in a Hilbert Curve, somewhere in Fractal City.” Her gaze drifted then, as if she was remembering. I decided to give her a moment of quiet.
Want an excerpt of Rosemary with one of the other main characters? Or have some advice? Or a reaction? Let me know. Thanks for reading.