Infinity is a noun. Okay, maybe all numbers are technically nouns, but we don’t use them like that, at least not outside of math class. In the real world, numbers are adjectives. Thirty dollars. Five apples. Eighty percent. Numbers don’t stand alone; they are not things. If I tell you a number, it’s to describe something else. But infinity is a noun.

To me, infinity-the-noun is a lot better than infinite-the-adjective. Infinite things don’t exist, but infinities do, or at least, I can pretend that they do. High school is not infinite, but it is an infinity.

And in my opinion, those are the best kinds of things. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that high school is not infinite, but I love school. You know I love school. To me, high school will always be whatever combination of little things it is, and there will never be anything quite like it, for better or for worse. So high school is an infinity. Not because of the fact that everyone looks back on it (that just makes it the past), but because to any given person, high school will forever be that mess of classmates and projects and teachers and sports teams and locker combinations and chairs that are awkwardly attached to desks and checkered floor tiles that you barely remember and remember too well at the same time. And once you leave, it won’t change, even when it does. (Actually, I have no idea if this is true yet. I’d like to think that it is.)

But high school is everyone’s infinity. I have my own infinities, too. Fried rice and chocolate milk is an infinity. (I know it sounds kind of gross but it’s actually not. Really. Try it.) I have no idea why this started, but whenever my mom makes fried rice, I have to drink it with chocolate milk instead of normal milk. Maybe it’s partially a nostalgia thing, but I think it’s something more than that. It doesn’t remind me of the past; it’s simply something that I do and forever will do, because that’s the way it is. I honestly don’t even like chocolate milk anymore, but I still drink it whenever we eat fried rice and I don’t even notice that I don’t like it. Because fried rice and chocolate milk is an infinity. My infinity.

The definition of an infinity is intangible. That’s why it’s a noun. Things are not literally infinite, but they are infinities, whatever that means. I think it’s okay not to know.

Basically what I’m saying is that anything can be an infinity, but not everything from my life is necessarily an infinity, no matter how important it is or was to me. Writing is not an infinity. My writing changes and I think of it differently every time I do it. And that’s good. I want it to change. Some things were not meant to be infinities.

Also, Microsoft Word is giving me the squiggly green line and telling me that while “infinites” and “the infinity” and just “infinity” exist, “an infinity” does not. Maybe it’s telling me that infinity is much more abstract than I want it to be, but I believe that something can be an infinity.

Things cannot become infinite, but sometimes, out of the blue, they will become an infinity.


One thought on “Infinities

  1. I love this, as always. I totally visualized little infinities being strung along like beads on a necklace or something, as these tiny glowing capsules of how-things-were-exactly.

    Also. The Fault in Our Stars happened.
    “There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”

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