Someone once told me, years ago, that men have one less rib than women. And while I understand that this is probably a fallacy promoted by the more religious among us, I also think there’s a beauty in that. Each human (each mammal, actually) is given twelve thoracic vertebrae, and on each of these, there is a connecting point where a rib is held in place. Simple math tells us that this means each human being has twelve pairs of ribs. Imagine for a minute, regardless of the truth behind the aforementioned statement (and I am one who researched it for romantic reasons), that women do in fact carry with them one extra rib in each body. That men have not twelve pairs, but a set of twelve on one side with eleven on the other. If the female rib is said to have been taken from the male form, it does not in any way shape or form make her lesser than her “predecessor,” because from him she was formed and from her he will be recreated. It therein becomes a cycle, a give and take, a relationship. But that is not, as far as I see it, where the true beauty lies. If her rib has been taken from him, it means a small piece of his being is missing. It means he finds himself a little bit less for it, and she a little bit more. It means that he spends his days perhaps searching for that missing part, the last corner piece to the puzzle he’s spent as long as he can remember putting together. His life, in this way, becomes a work of art, missing an essential element, one that only another person can give to him. And perhaps there is more than one rib that matches his, or perhaps there is only one on a planet of 7 billion. Or maybe he doesn’t need that last part, maybe it’s not integral to him. Regardless of his search, or lack thereof, there’s a certain intimacy in the idea that maybe someone holds that last piece of his humanity, and that maybe, just maybe, she would be willing to share it with him.