Fusion and Confusion


It’s day six of the A-to-Z challenge! F is for fusion, the process that powers the Sun and other stars.

Proton meets proton. It happens often enough, and most of the time it doesn’t work out. The relationship is unstable, and breaks down. Two positive nucleons go their separate ways. One time in a gadzillion, though, the relationship moves to the next level, and then things get complicated.

Living with Hannah was an ongoing lesson in nuclear physics. We were two hotheads, too much alike; young and always in motion. We drove each other crazy: ego collided with ego at every opportunity.

Yet for all our mutual kinetic energy, there was always an inexplicable attraction. In what seemed at the time to be an endless cycle, we fought and broke up; then, we came together again. For a brief time during our few amazing years, she even wore my ring. We were the blazing stars in each other’s lives.

Human relationships aren’t like the proton-proton chain: our hearts never react as predictably as nuclei in stellar cores. I’ve seen others’ relationships linger on, building up heavier and heavier chemical ash in the heart, until nothing remains but an inert lump of iron. Hannah and I may not have lasted quite as long, but looking back on the spectacle of our supernova, I can’t help but smile.

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