The first thing 3 remembered was that it was surrounded by many other numbers. Trillions of them in fact. They were coming after each other and before each other at the same time. They wouldn’t stop going in circles, each bowing to the other and to the one before it. It was a grand dance that created things, many things, unfathomable things that could hardly be comprehended by any other unfathomable intellect.
Then he looked around one day and all of the other numbers were gone. Now he was quite alone. He jumped up, he cried out, he wept, he blew his nose (discovering he had no nose), he giggled, he stomped his feet (discovering he had no feet), he sat, he listened, he whistled, he listened some more, he walked around and then in the distance he saw another number coming towards him. But which number was it?
The number slowed down as he got nearer to 3 and seemed to expand for a few moments as if in surprise or shock. “I am 8. How do you do?”
The little number greeted himself as 3 bowing in deference to 8 as being a higher number than himself. “I am doing well. I hope you have had a pleasant journey.”
“I’m looking for 9 through 21,” said 8 sadly. “They are my friends. I was with them in the darkness for a long time until we got all these things popping up, the creation and all.”
“I’ve seen no numbers for uncountable ages.”
“I have only seen one or two for your uncountable ages. I just hope my friends have not vanished into non-existence. I’ve heard the rumor that 11 and 12 gave up and saw no purpose anymore and that’s what has created an unbalance in the things. When they give up.”
3 winced for a sudden and then tried to keep his composure. He remembered 8 vaguely and then popping to the surface of his memory. 8 was the one. It was 8. He had tried to steal his girlfriend 13 when things were a misty void. Anger crept up in him once again as he recalled how 8 had mocked him in front of her and her friends. 8 had called him puny and a little squat.
“Don’t you remember me?”
8 thought for a moment peering into the eyes of 3 and then with a sudden jolt he said: “Oh, yes I think we have met before. It was such a long time ago now. Ages and ages have passed by.”
“Not too long to forget though, or to remember,” 3 said. “Or to pine away for a dear one that was yours but was stolen by a brigand who wanted her all to himself.”
“Well, how dare you!” 8 said. “We’ll talk about this later.”
8 began to move back and turned around and headed back into the darkness where he had come from. Oh yes, now he recalled that day when the puny 3 had tried to break up the great romance. He had tried and failed yet she had gone with 54 that lousy scum, no good dirty cheater. Talk about out of his league but he had beguiled her. Those were the days of courtship when love was in the air in the realm of numbers. But was it fair that such acrimony could reach so far distance in time devouring number after number?
3 turned his back to him and thought to himself he hoped he was gone quickly. After he was gone he would be quite alone again he thought. “8!” He quickly called out. “8! Just a moment.”
8 stopped in his tracks, looking back he saw 3 turned towards him. “We can look for them together?” 3 said. “Sure,” 8 said. “We’ll look for them together. We’ve just got each other for now after all.”
3 and 8 then joined together and were transformed into 11.