Universal Language: Otto’s Story

We were the only foreigners in the town.

It was after the war; we got out of Europe and came here

but we were different and couldn’t speak English

or at least, not very well. So people looked at us

and in school I was left alone, no one tried

to be a friend and so

I turned to math because you see

numbers are always the same. In any language

they act the same way, do the same things.

You can depend on numbers.

I learned English and when I became a citizen

I changed my name to make it more American.

The country of my birth was changed and the place

I called home became part of another country;

now that country too has a different name and border.

Many things in my life have changed over time.

Yet numbers always remained the same and so

I kept my love for numbers and that is why

I became a teacher of math.

(Otto’s story make me think about other universal languages: crying, laughing, sorrow, body language, singing. Whatever our differences, these we all share.)

About grannysu

storyteller, writer, poet, gardener, countrywoman
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