Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

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Adam Cogbill '07

Excerpt from "A Physics of Affection"

I wanted to tell her about this man I saw in the morning before she woke up, during my walk. I walk the other way from the beach, toward the highway. I like highways because of all the cars in one place, all those people passing at high speeds, all those people intent on not hitting other people, I like imagining all those people in one car, moving together in one place, I imagine those people closer and closer, touching and touching and all that contact, all those thoughts, all those worries, all those angers, all those demands, if you could hear everything your ears would burst, anyway there’s a bridge over the inlet pretty high, sixty feet maybe, and some guy was on top, and then in the air, and in pretty good form for diving, and then he went under, and I counted a good eight seconds before he was up, but there was his head, and I figure okay, he’s okay. But then hands to head and wobbling, like he was drunk, down again up, down again up, then grabbed the rocks and pulled, but he was hanging sideways like the world was tilted and he fell up the rocks to the sand bank, which is when he started brushing the sand off, which he did for a lot longer than there could have been sand on, dusting his shirt shorts hair and legs, back to shirt, slapping legs, shaking hair, do it over, do it again, and then his shirt was off, and his hands were on his chest, and he didn't stop, even when he started walking, he was dusting, and I figured okay, he didn't even know he was moving. I had this idea that he was walking to somebody, not aware that he was walking, but walking, the thing is: I was sure, even with that sticking sand, snorted salty seawater, the slipping sliding footprints, there was a person on the other end of his moving, mapped to muscle, to mind, and he'd get there, and he figured it would be fine when he got there, to the place with the person, and they'd wrap themselves in blankets, and she'd put her hands in his, and they'd touch, and touching is a form of pressure, is the application of pressure, and it was as close as they'd get to being close, even though by pressing we are pushing, but it turns out fine because the other person pushes back, and love is a bunch of people pushing each other but if they do it at the same strength then okay, they can almost share the same space. Love is a bunch of people trying to share a space that does not allow for bunches of people because of the laws of physics, of mass, where did we get the idea for love without fixing these laws, without amending these laws, where did we get love without a space for love, where did we get ideas about love without experiencing what we were claiming for love. When I got back I wanted to tell Dani but she was still sleeping so I was down next to her while she was still sleeping and she reminded me of constellations while she was still sleeping but also when she wasn't sleeping because there was a pattern and you knew, but you couldn't really tell, sure it could be a mythological bull or belt but maybe it was a house or a tidal wave, and she didn't wake up when I was near her so I whispered and she didn't wake up and I whispered again and hoped my voice was in her head somewhere while she was sleeping, moving around in her atmosphere while she was sleeping.