When we interact meaningfully with someone, maybe in some way, we stay connected forever
It is the curse of the humanist to want all the laws of science to apply to people too. I confess to being cursed in that way. A few years ago, when I was researching my novel Weather Woman and was reading a lot of science, I became captivated by the theory of entanglement, which refers to the idea that once two particles have interacted they thereafter always respond in relationship to one another, even when far apart. In a 1935 paper, Albert Einstein called the phenomenon “spooky action at a distance.”
Car crashes, quarry jumps, and the friends we love despite everything
Being a person who thinks more about people than about particles, I did the thing that scientists abhor: I transferred this idea of entanglement to my understanding of human behavior, a subject of endless fascination for me. Do people behave as particles do? Do we always respond in some way to those with whom we have interacted meaningfully? I began examining my own relationships, thinking about people from my past who I no longer see but who I still think about, in particular, people with whom there is something unresolved. Have these people imprinted me in some way? Have I imprinted them too? Do we still behave in relationship to one another?
I had to test this theory, so I did some digging to locate a man I haven’t seen for some decades. We met when we were in our twenties. A spontaneous road trip with friends had taken me to a distant city where this man and I formed an instantaneous and magical connection. We spent several days in each other’s company, talking, frolicking, making out. He gave me a basket he had lined with velvet that is still in my possession. He had a girlfriend at the time and I had a boyfriend, but none of that seemed to matter.
After I returned home, we exchanged a few letters and made plans for another get-together that never happened. We lived too far from one another, and we were both too practical and too ensconced in our lives (and our other lovers)…