Sometimes life doesn't make sense. It feels like things are out of control.
For smart people, life makes even less sense. That's why we stick to science.
Another day of school is coming to a close. Still glowing with pride, I carefully ease my prize-winning chemistry project into my locker, holding my breath as textbooks and binders threaten to start an avalanche and flatten me. The second bell rings, and the hall fills with students. Among them, I see my friend Lisa, who gives me a thumbs up and mouths "Congratulations" before dashing to catch a bus. I smile, about to turn back to my locker, when I receive a metaphorical, but physically experienced, blow to the stomach.
There he is.
His deliberately touseled hair, streaked by hours in the sun, frames a square, but soft face, with a strong nose and straight lips. He's tall and athletic and hot, with a deep voice and eyes the colour of a storm cloud. He's charming - in my imagination, anyway.. he's never actually spoken to me. But he must be, because he has a girlfriend. And she is neither of the girls on each arm as he walks past, laughing about something that is probably not even that funny.
It is a mystery to me, how I can live with myself. I am not a dreamy-eyed, boy-chasing flirt. I am a science buff. I don't believe in love, I believe in the laws of chemistry.
Let me show you what I mean:
The basic idea behind chemistry is, everything in the world is made up of molecules, which are made up of one or more atoms.
Atoms are made up of subparticles called protons, neutrons, and electrons.
Protons and neutrons form the core, or nucleus, while electrons revolve around it around on specific levels and patterns.
Electrons are negatively charged, while protons are positively charged. As you probably know, opposites attract.
This simple rule must explain why I, Amanda Brown, Junior, Chemistry Club Administrator, and Self-Proclaimed Geek, happen to (unfortunately) be attracted to Tyler Bankroft, Senior, Athletic Proficient, C- Average.
Science explains why my mouth goes all dry when he walks past, and why my stomach jumps when he glances in my general direction - it's because, if we lived a couple thousand years ago, he would be a very good potential family provider. And it's because some annoying hormones are inducing all sorts of unnecessary stress and adrenaline rushes, wreaking havoc on my nerves.
The thing about atoms is, there is only one nucleus, and, in this case, tons of swarming electrons.
Without warning a paper escapes my locker, floating, as if in slow motion, to the beige tile floor, then sliding a bit to stop in the middle of the hallway, directly in his path.
I watch, entranced, as his eyes register the paper, then search for its origin: me.
My breath stops completely.
I am frozen like water at 5 degrees Kelvin.
He stops to pick it up, ignoring the girls that encircle him like an ion in water. His eyes don't leave mine as he walks towards me and holds it out.
"Amanda, right?" he says simply.
All my neurons fire simultaneously. I feel like I've been electrocuted. It's painful, but invigorating.
Now would be a good time to speak, my very rational conscience reminds me.
"Thanks," I tell him, so quiet he probably doesn't even hear, and accept the paper, careful not to touch his hand. Very smooth, my conscience remarks sarcastically.
Then he is gone.
And though an electron will always be circling around the nucleus, sometimes coming thrillingly close,
there is no way the two can ever be together.