Qualitative Measurments

People thought Inui was an idiot sometimes, not in the IQ sense but the common one. He’d had a few social missteps, of course, but nothing as comical as the sitcom assumptions. Everyone was so prone to blow these things out of proportion.

Jokingly, people asked him if he took data of his classmates before navigating conversations with them, and well, he did, but not because he had any illusions of it doing him any good, the process just comforted him, made him less afraid, even if he knew the activity was pointless. He could anticipate an opponent’s movements to a frightening degree of accuracy because tennis was a game, a mechanical exercise with predictable responses. Conversation was another monster entirely. Human beings were terrifyingly unpredictable outside of the court.

Kaidoh Kaoru was the most terrifying human being in the world.

Inui knew that data was useless outside of the court, but he calculated it anyway, like a compulsion. There was a ninety percent chance of rejection, but Inui confessed anyway, because data was useless and because he couldn’t stand the weight in his chest, slowing him down. The odds of Kaidoh pushing him against the smooth concrete wall beneath the bridge and kissing him were so incredibly small that Inui couldn’t even calculate them, but that’s what Kaidoh did.

The uselessness of data was in itself a useless factoid. When Inui put his hand under Kaidoh’s shirt the first time, there was a sixty percent chance Kaidoh would punch him in the face, and he did, knocking his glasses askew and making his nose bleed. When Inui told Kaidoh he loved him, there was a twenty percent chance he would return it. He did, making Inui’s heart speed well past it’s normal sedentary rate. There was a fifty/fifty chance Kaidoh would forget his birthday. He didn’t. There was a thirty percent chance he’d forget Valentine’s day. He did.

When Kaidoh stopped talking to him, Inui compiled a list of every possible reason, and attempted to correct his perceived mistakes. For days, and weeks, and months, he labored, analyzing every interaction they’d had, every word they’d uttered in each other’s presence, or didn’t utter, searching and searching for that one thing, that one blip he could erase.

One day, Inui saw Kaidoh holding someone else’s hand, and it didn’t matter anymore. It never had. Data is useless.

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