22. Aliquot, noun. From Latin alius, “another,” + quot, “how many.” A term used in many disciplines. In chemistry, a measured portion from a larger sample. In mathematics, a proper divisor (a factor by which an integer can be divided without leaving a remainder). In music, which is itself a kind of mathematics, a tone arises from vibrations creating a particular pitch, timbre, and duration. The sound made by a partial vibration—a shimmering, harmonic sound we sometimes call an overtone—is known by the name aliquot.
Handing back my driver’s license with her eyebrows raised, she tells me I look good—as if the years I’ve spent alive already should have marked me more than this. I want to tell her that what starts with time and distance doesn’t stop. We separate our poison and our beauty into parts as well. I sip this drink she doesn’t think I’m old enough to need, and find relief in knowing we don’t have to take it all in all at once.