The Writing of Cloud Buchholz

Flynn Favero was an apt student, capable of calculating columns of equations in mere moments - an act which impressed students and professors alike. His odd displays of intellect had earned him a reputation as being both a genius and an eccentric.

He had no desire to exhibit his gifts, but on many occasions crowds of bookish mathletes pushed their way into his small office to observe his work.

The office did not, in fact, belong to young Flynn Favero, but instead to a tenured professor by the name of Noah Raines.

Flynn Favero arrived at the office only moments after the professor’s departure. The door was open and paperwork had been strewn across the floor. The room was such a mess that Flynn could not tell if items had been subtracted or added to the disorder.

Having no desire to tidy, Flynn took a few scraps of paper and left for a nearby cafe.

Flynn sat along the corner window in quiet solitude, organizing his disjointed thoughts. He wrote each idea on a separate napkin and placed the napkins in altering grinds on the table.

His thoughts were not strictly mathematical. One scrap of napkin described the pleasure he felt while drinking orange juice. Another reminded him to buy milk on his way home. A third contained no words at all, but instead a rough portrait of the woman behind the counter who fascinated him in a way he could not explain.

He shuffled the scraps around, hoping to see some commonality between them - some thread that he might twist into a formula. He knew this game was founded more in nostalgia than science, but he enjoyed playing it while he thought of what he might say to the beautiful woman behind the counter whenever the chance might manifest - though, unfortunately, it had not yet done so.

He spent every mid-morning sitting in the same chair at the same table, ordering a small glass of orange juice and an apricot danish. He followed this routine so consistently and precisely that he no longer needed to order. The food and drink would appear in front of him the moment he sat down.

Flynn thought that, perhaps, this was a sign of something intimate, but he did not want to presume too much. His hope left too many variables unaccounted for. Instead he sat quietly, eating and working, casually glancing her direction when he thought she might not be looking.

When he returned to the office a large group of students and professors were pushing awkwardly through the doorway to Professor Raines’ office.

Flynn did not think much of it, for it was common to see crowds gathering in and around the doorway, though usually he was the one trapped at their center. Instead of competing with the compendium of people, Flynn walked to the library and sat in the quietest corner of the lowest floor.

He laid his scraps of paper on the table in even rows. He rearranged them in different shapes, forming the semblance of a pattern like branches on a tree. He stared at the pattern, hoping a formula would reveal itself to him.