Atoms


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1. Dear you,

Dear you,

When we met, almost a year ago now, the first question you asked me was: what does a molecule feel like when it dies?

I never answered you when you asked me this, and I’ve had a year to think up a response, but I only realised how the atom felt when you walked away from me two months ago.

It doesn’t feel sorrow or fear. It doesn’t think, I won’t exist anymore. There is no “I”, there is just a “we” that nothing short of a nuclear explosion could separate. The atom’s whole being is engulfed by a ripping and a tearing and it’s fissure, fission and then the splitting of a tiny universe big enough for two.

They have a word for what we were: fused— you were me and I was you, for a month or two. Your face and hair and eyes and smile are more familiar to me than my own, and now that I’m hurting— my throat hurts, my head hurts, my insides hurt— I’m wondering, is it hurting you too?

You and I became diatomic, like oxygen, like hydrogen, and now my universe is splitting and I, the atom, am dying.

You probably won’t read this, but I thought maybe you would like to know that I’m still walking around being half of you.

 

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