For years, I struggled in math class. I hated the tedious work of long division, and sitting still and listening to lectures on numbers drove me half crazy. Then came pi. My seventh-grade teacher told my class we would get to eat pie to celebrate Pi Day. We were set to learn about it in March anyway. The pedagogy seemed sound to me. 200 or so digits lined the wall of my math classroom. I would look at it when zoning out. I had math second to last period of the day and sometimes could barely keep my eyes open. My desk faced away from the start of the poster, so I memorized from a random point.

I would never be like the other kids in my school who could recite pi for a minute straight. But I understood pi. The infiniteness made me believe it more than other concepts like those damn imaginary numbers. Promises of pie helped too. The week of Pi Day came— and I caught the stomach flu. I never had it so bad before or after. My fever refused to break. I broke the school district policy of waiting 24 hours without a fever to sing in a choir concert. I had my head in a trash can the whole next day. Pi Day— my first day back. I had to push a friend’s tray away at lunch. The greasy smell of her leftover fries threatened my body to revolt against me. I needed to make it to sixth period. When I got to math, I had one bite of a pie, maybe key lime, and knew I could have no more. I sat on the other side of the classroom doing my problems in a queasy silence as everyone recited pi and claimed their prizes, even more pie.