The Theory of Absence
by Elizabeth Winslow, translating from the Arabic by Dunya Mikhail

copyright © 1993, 1997, 2000, 2005 by Dunya Mikhail / translation copyright 2005 by Elizabeth Winslow

The hypothesis: I am tense and so are you.
We neither meet nor separate.

The desired result: We meet in the absence.

The proof: As tension turns people into arcs, we are two arcs.
We neither meet nor separate (the hypothesis)
so we must be parallel.
If two parallel lines are bisected by a third line
(in this case, the line of tension)
their corresponding angles must be equal (a geometrical theorem).
So we are congruent (because shapes are congruent
when their angles are equal)
and we form a circle (since the sum
of two congruent arcs
is a circle).
Therefore, we meet in the absence
(since the circumference of a circle
is the sum of contiguous points
which can each be considered
a point of contact).