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My new wallet has graffiti on the front—a chunk logo of NYC, spray paint dripping to the edges on a brick wall in some hypothetical back alley. There are no back alleys in the brick and mortar NYC. Front is back and up is down.

And graffiti on the back, too—a math problem, to be true. It shows: misshapen heart is greater than money sign. That’s the equation. I suppose the heart is love. Or love and relationship, interaction between people. All of that represented by a heart. The expression of, feeling of, act of one engaging with another in the interest of love. I can level with that. I imagine that my wallet means not the aorta-pumping, artery-clogging, triple-bypass kind of heart, but the mine is broken, I give you my, you make mine go sort of heart is greater than the money sign. Than the stuff we buy, the things we have, the paper inside our wallets.

And I agree that it is.

Now the giver of this East Coast souvenir and I, we ascribe to this math problem, both agreeing that the arrow is pointing in the correct direction, that full credit should be awarded to the solver of this problem. In the intricacies, in the blank space where we show our work, we pull from different equation sheets. And I’m coming to understand, as the Teacher of this math class takes us through the lessons in the book, that those equation sheets just might be able to beautifully complement one another.

The way Chemistry informs Physics. The way Algebra informs Trigonometry and Calculus. Different cheat sheets on the test, x’s and y’s all tangled up in the show-your-work space, and the same answer in a box at the bottom of the page.

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