Waves And Particles

Entry by: Seaside Scribbler

2nd October 2015
The trouble is, I don't understand a damn thing he's studying. It's something to do with light, how it can be in waves or particles and both at the same time. He's trying to show that one is more prevelant than the other. Stronger than the other. I think.

I can't help but compare it with love. Love comes in jolts, like particles. It's the tiny little things he does - the way he stirs coffee; the way he puts on his shoes. It's the way he brushes his teeth. The way he butters his toast, not like anyone else. These are particles of himself. And the waves. They are the way he swims, the way he cooks a meal. The way he speaks, a wave of musicality. His words ebb and flow and most of them go over my head.

He's been my best friend since I was ten. We grew up as next door neighbours. I'm the artist; he's the physicist. I am sure he understands me - to me it seems simple. I don't have a clue about him. Waves and particles and the marriage between them. That's all he talks about but I get stuck on the word 'marriage'. It's all I can think about. I wish I was his sister, or his cousin. I could love him then, but it'd be wrong to spend time dreaming about being married to him, as I do now. I could love him platonically, be his mate, listen to his problems, be his friend. It'd be safe.

As it is, I feel I was born to love him. And he's wayyyyy out of my league. I've read stuff on physics. I've read things on waves and prticles and the way people can't decide which way light travels and which way is right and which way is correct. To me it's easy, light travels in both ways, life travels in both ways, love travels in both ways. But those physicists want a definitive answer. They should all be artists for a while. I think.

The word 'quantum' freaks me out. As an artist, it makes me think of rivers, of space, of flowing forces beyond my control. To physicists it's the ultimate challenge. Quantum physics.

Alan. That's his name. A boring name, really. A good name for a scientist or a quantum physicist, but crap for a lover. I'd have loved to fall for a Romeo or a Rob, perhaps a Lucas or a Leo. But instead it's Alan. I've no choice. None of us have any choice who we fall in love with.

I decided to get him drunk one night. It began as a challenge, who could drink the most tequila slammers in ten minutes. Within what felt like seocnds Alan was barfing into the sink and I was holding his hair off his face. One thing going for him, he did have long hair. The afternath was us sitting in my mum's deckchairs out on the verandah, him with a cool cloth on his forehead, me with a drink in my hand and an idea for a picture which just would not go away. Sensing I had the upper hand I asked him, 'So which am I, a wave or a particle?'

Alan raised what was obviously a sore head. 'You're a wave,' he said. 'You fill my world when you're here, a tsumani of energy; a force of nature. You take me to places I'd never go - tonight for example. Or the night you made me do fancy dress. Or the day you took me to your anutie's third wedding. You are a force beyond my comprehension. A wave of light and life that passes me and takes me with it.'

I was silent, speechless, actually. I thought he saw me as the girl next door, and only that.

'And yet you're a particle. You are a particular kind of girl. Woman. You have eyes of the deepest green, particles of light trapped within, particles which grab me in their beam. Nobody in their right mind would be able to walk past that light.'

I stayed silent. Alan reached for my hand across the space between our chairs. 'I'm sorry I chucked up. I'm a bloody lightweight when it comes to alcohol. You've always been able to outdrink me.'

'Nothing to be proud of,' I mumbled. I didn't know what else to say. Drunk Alan was as open and vocal as I'd ever seen him. I didn't care if it made him ill; I planned to get him drunk again as soon as possible.

'What do you see in me?' Alan asked.

That was a tough one. Since I was ten, I'd thought Alan was my hero. He was everything I thought a boyfriend should be. If he wanted to talk in waves and particles, it was this: he was a wave of thought, an intellectual force who filled in all my blank fluffy spaces. If I was the airhead, he was the anchor. If we were talking in particles, he had the absolutes, the answers, the ideas, whilst I had the concepts and the cloud scenes. I'd want to paint the cirro-stratus, he'd want to tell me what it was made of. As far as I could tell, he was clever, I wasn't.

'Erm,' I said. What did I tell him? 'I just think we fit together,' I said in the end. 'Sometimes I'm a wave, and can pass through the spaces as a whole thing, and you are a particle, that helps me get together on the other side. Other times, you're a particle, an absoliute idea, something that is 100% right, and I am this wave of ideas. Something incomplete. We fit. We complement each other.'

I hoped like hell he was still as drunk as me, because I hadn't a clue what I meant.

'Yeah,' he said.

We sat, side by side for a while, and he pointed out some of the constellations and lost me in explanations of how far away they were. I, meanwhile, was wondering how I could paint them. Whether to use black paint on white, or white on black.

'Let's go for a walk,' said Alan. I gulped down the rest of my drink and staggered to my feet.

We wandered to the playpark where as kids we'd come with the other kids in the street. Alan got me to sit on the swing and he pushed me. I flew higher and higher, until my stomach whooshed inside me. He let me slow down, and caught me around the waist. Time stopped.

I wanted to tell him, you're too clever for me. I'm just a woolly headed artist. You're heading for big stuff. You are your quantum thoughts. You're going places. I'm heading for a life of pennilessness and baked beans on toast as my latest etching didn't sell.

'Come with me,' he said, and led me by the hand to the edge of the hill, where you could see the town stretched out below us. 'What do you see?' he said.

I looked. 'Pin points of light; houses, cars, sky.'

'I see waves and particles of love,' he said. 'The waves are the houses and cars, heading to and from somewhere, and the houses containing it all. The pin points of light are people living their lives, always around love, for nothing exists without it. Both are real. Do you see?'

I wasn't sure I did. But I nodded.

Alan drew me in close. When we kissed it sent a million butterflies soaring in my stomach. It was at once a wave of feeling, and pinpoints of light, entering me all over.