Triangle: A polygon with three sides. Any three non-collinear points determine a unique triangle.
Murray sometimes wondered about his place in life. Oh, not about his place in the world. He knew who he was: Murray Bozinski, scientist, computer expert, genius (well, in layman's terms; there is actually no scientifically precise definition of genius, IQ tests notwithstanding). He'd published enough papers to be sure that his reputation, at least in academia, was secure. He'd never had reason to doubt that his talents and skills were contributing something to society as a whole. He'd always felt useful.
But needed, or wanted? Loved? That was a different question.
And maybe not a fair one. He was loved and needed by his family, and he realized some time ago that he was one of the lucky ones. What should have been a basic axiom of life—unconditional familial love—turned out to be an empty maxim for a lot of people. He was grateful for his parents and for Melba, really he was.
Only, sometimes, he needed more.
* * * * *
Scalene triangle: all three sides have different lengths
When Murray first joined the Riptide Detective Agency he was, not to put too fine a point on it, ecstatic. He had just broken ties with his former employer (uh, he'd broken other things too, but that's a story for another time) and Nick and Cody had come along at the perfect time. He remembered the former MPs fondly and was surprised and touched to be offered a partnership in their business endeavor. A detective agency! Mystery! Intrigue! Guns! Damsels in distress! It was all very exciting.
It turned out to be somewhat different from what he had imagined. Oh, there was mystery and intrigue, alright. Still, more often than not he found himself being the Tonto to Nick and Cody's Lone Ranger (okay, that wasn't a very good metaphor, but you get the idea). They'd wanted him for his computer and electronics know-how, not his investigative abilities (which were, admittedly, culled from a hazy recollection of his dad's old Ellery Queen magazines and the occasional Mike Hammer novel he'd found in the bookstore's bargain bin). Murray understood that, of course. They all had their strengths, it only made sense to play to them. It was still exciting—sometimes a little too much—but he'd had to resign himself to having his hands on a keyboard more than a gun, to being technical support. Useful.
Which was fine, he reminded himself. Useful is always good.
* * * * *
Isosceles triangle: two sides out of three are equal in length
What Murray hadn't expected, what he didn't realize until after he moved into the Riptide, was how close—how very, very close—Cody and Nick were. In his defense, prior to that he hadn't known them well at all, hadn't spent much time with them, other than that fateful trip almost-to-prison after his court martial (not to mention, he'd spent a good portion of that time with Myrna.... Er, yeah, let's not mention that). Once on board, however, it certainly didn't take a genius to see that Cody and Nick were in love. It only took eyes, and Murray had eyes, even if they did need glasses.
Neither Nick nor Cody ever said anything outright to him, but it was obvious—through their actions, their body language, their expressions, everything—that they were sleeping together. Not only that, they didn't seem to care if Murray knew it or not. Murray tried to analyze how he felt about the situation. He wasn't offended or upset, but he was... unsettled, confused. Maybe even jealous.
One evening they were watching some silly Late Late something on the TV, and Nick dropped his arm over Cody's shoulders. Cody leaned into him and they smiled at each other. It was as though they were alone, sharing a private joke or a lovers' secret. Murray felt a pang, and suddenly recognized it for what it was: not jealousy, but envy. He was envious of their long history together, their intimacy, their connection to each other.
They needed each other.
Nick said, "Hey Murray, you're awful quiet over there. Are you tired? The movie isn't over yet."
He wasn't sleepy, but it seemed like a good excuse to make himself scarce. "It's getting late," he began apologetically, but as he stood up to leave, Cody reached over, grabbed his arm and pulled him down, almost into Nick's lap.
"Aw, don't go Murray. The best part's coming up. Here." Cody scooted over to make room, and Murray found himself sandwiched between the two of them. Nick put the bowl of popcorn in Murray's hands and ruffled his hair.
They watched the cheesy flick to the end. Nick and Cody had their arms over Murray's shoulders the whole time, touching him, touching each other.
It was, as promised, the best part.
* * * * *
Equilateral triangle: all three sides are equal in length
A triangle is inherently strong and stable. Compared to a rectangle, which tends to collapse when force is applied to one of its points, triangles hold up surprisingly well against lateral pressures. Each of the three sides supports the other two.
As it is in geometry, so it is in life.
Murray has been lucky enough to experience this for himself, empirical data being the very best proof. They are all three of them quite different in personality, yet ultimately they are equals. Over the years, he has learned that what he does for the agency is just as valuable as what Nick or Cody does (some might say it's more valuable, and there may be some merit to that, but Murray is perfectly content to call it even).
More than that, he's also learned that who he is is also valuable to his partners. He is not their lover, but he is loved. He is not only useful, but wanted and needed. His place in life is here, with them.
It is, in the end, all he could have asked for.