How to Calculate the Molecular Mass of Hydrogen
In the moments after they do not kiss, she sends certain known quantities of various types though her head. “Sine squared plus cosine squared equals one,” and “basic Pythagorean theorem brings us to this result.” It was easiest to start with math, with constants, to think that the angles of a triangle would always sum to one-hundred and eighty degrees. This is always the world.
The certain known quantities would broaden to certain known facts. “The Aztec calendar formed a fifty-two year century. The inhabitants of Machu Picchu were wiped out by small pox.” Then things would narrow to the relevant to a shinning point in which rationalities were inserted and a reminder was made that falling in love and all the complexities therein were a result of Phenylethylamine swirling around one’s brain. This is something that she believes not only in the moments after they did not kiss, but in all moments. Prairie voles and human beings are monogamous, although, not, of course, to the same degree of success.
In the moments after they do not kiss, the moments in which she goes through her day, she is glad. Their world views collide in the most cosmic of crashes. The universe will not, she believes, stretch onward towards infinity, out into the infinite abyss, which defies all to quantify it, to qualify it. The universe, like them, will close in on itself. This will be a catastrophe.
She is not, she thinks, like the prairie voles, monogamous by evolution. And, sitting across from her in the dinner, when he says that it’s crappy sex and talks about occupying the same point in space, she thinks about the single point that, in the end, the universe will occupy, atoms wrenched apart and thrown into one another, back to the original chaos. It will end like this.
One time, in the car on the way back from a crime scene involving copious amounts of sand, filled with memories of the earth birthing her after her entrapment in the car, she says things that she does not mean. Thinking of the earth pulling away from her in rivulets of fine granules, Booth pulling her upwards towards air, and the time she called him a hero; she thinks of Gilgamesh, hero king of Uruk – the first warrior of legend. And, this on her mind, she instead dives into the Sumerian story of the flood. “It predates the Judeo-Christian myth by centuries,” she says, waiting for the counterpoint with the vague knowledge that this is not what she meant to say.
His soliloquizing is always a source of confusion. The world is a clear place – the molecular mass of hydrogen is 2.0158g and will always be 2.0158g, just as love, of all sorts, of whatever sort this is, is a result of chemistry.
In the moments after they do not kiss sometimes she forgets this to be true.
Of course she knows mistletoe is a parasitic plant; the tradition of kissing under it coming from the Norse. She recalls these not being things she mentioned to Caroline in their moments of negotiations. Time is a constant except for where space bends. Even rooted in her biological sciences she knows this; that a kiss of five seconds is exactly five seconds. Feeling time has sped or slowed is only foolish.
These are the hours after they did kiss. The world snow-globes down flakes in gentle eddies. She has never loved someone the way she loves him, there and now, standing outside this stupid prison that’s replacing Peru, his automobile humming out electricity, making the light from the Christmas bulbs refract off the snow at angles she will calculate to get back into her head.