Numbers

Every person has a number.

It hangs over them like the Sword of Damocles. I can see everyone else’s, but I cannot see my own.

I don’t know for sure what they mean, but I have a theory. I’ve seen them tick up when someone is rude or petty. Hatred makes the number run up like a gas pump.

Not everyone can see them. Most people can’t. I’ve found that, on the rare occasion that I meet another soul who can see them, we’re incapable of talking about them to one another.

I’ve only ever gotten as far as, “You see them, too?” before both of our mouths go funny and no sound can escape.

It feels like the universe is opposed to us knowing our own number. Maybe it has something to do with scoring at the end of this life. Maybe knowing is cheating.

I’ve never seen someone’s number tick down. I’ve only ever seen them go up, so there doesn’t seem to be a way to fix the damage we’ve done.

I guess once all that vitriol is out in the universe, it’s out there forever. There is no way to put it back, even if you could.

I’ve often wondered what my number is. Is it high? Am I the villain in my own story? Or, is it low? Have I learned something from all this? Does it tick slowly up every time I judge someone for having a high number?

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