“Excuse me. I’m sorry, may I…?”
“You’re…? Oh, you’re talking to me. Do we… know each other?”
“No. But if I may, I’d like to say you’re the spitting image of my ex-university professor.”
“Oh, is that right? Well, um… that’s interesting. Good day.”
“Do you mind? May I stop you for a second? Are you a mathematician?”
“Oh, me? No, I’m not. Good bye.”
“Please! I see how it might be…”
“I should be on my way.”
“You do look a lot like her, I must say. A complete resemblance. You wouldn’t, by any chance, have a sister, a twin perhaps, who happens to be a mathematician? My ex-professor? At the Institute of…”
“No, I don’t have siblings.”
“I see. It’s been some time since I last saw her. She might’ve changed. It would be interesting to know what you looked like five years ago. Five years and three months, to be precise. The date of my PhD exam. She was my supervisor.”
“Well, you must understand… Anyway, I looked very much the same as I look now. But really, I should…”
“You have very delicate features. And the wrinkles around your eyes are beautifully marked. Deep and reassuring at once. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to… Well, we all have them, after all.”
“I’m not sure where this is going…”
“Are you familiar with the Hausdorff dimension?”
“I have no clue what you are talking about.”
“The Koch snowflake?”
“I had a Pomeranian once I called Snowflake.”
“No. Roughness. A measure of roughness. In mathematics.”
“Look. I’m a pet groomer. I have a small shop.”
“Ah, I see. I noticed you’re not wearing any rings…”
“The job. Your finger could get caught in hair.”
“Yes. I figured that.”
“Well, I’m afraid I must…”
“Let me guess, you must’ve loved maths at school. Is that right? You enjoyed puzzles and were at the top of your class.”
“No, I’m sorry. I could barely get a D.”
“But that doesn’t necessary mean you disliked it.”
“I’m afraid I did. I found maths very frustrating.”
“You never tried to memorise long strings of random numbers?”
“What would I do that for?”
“Never mind. I cannot see how you can be so much alike her, your face, your stature, even your gestures and the tone of your voice. And yet, so different. Puzzling. I can’t come up with an obvious explanation. It baffles me.”
“You wouldn’t care to sit with me for a while? Could I buy you a coffee perhaps and talk a bit more? Try and find the reason for this striking resemblance? I must admit your presence…”
“I’m sorry, frankly I don’t see much point in it. It’s time I…”
“My time’s up? Did you just say that?”
“No, I didn’t. It’s time I moved on — is what I wanted to say. Good bye.”
“Wait! Do you do Sudoku?”