The Thermodynamics of Loneliness


The snow squeaks like Styrofoam underfoot as I climb the hill to my dorm after my shift at the Radio Station. Overhead, the stars are frozen in the midnight sky. I have no idea how cold it is, but I know when the snow squeals like this it’s below zero. I dig my hands deeper into the pockets of my wool coat, and try to pull my head down into it like a turtle.

All year I have been working this 11pm – 2am shift with my roommates, but tonight I flew solo. There was something peaceful, yet exciting, to cue up records in the silence of the studio then send them beaming out into the frozen darkness. Invisible waves of sound to bouncing off the ionosphere, and into the radios of total strangers. Tonight as I trudge home on the snow covered sidewalks my mind wanders.

I’m 3 years into the mechanical engineering program, and have become a hermit. My days and nights spent hunched over a desk beneath a yellow cone of light, scribbling hieroglyphics across tablets of paper. This left brain existence has tipped me off of balance. My dreams have become swirling fractals of color, dividing down again, and again into an infinity of inner space. During the daytime I scratch out formulas and equations to calculate the movement of bodies, but at night those bodies take on a life of their own, impervious to my attempts to deconstruct them. Ones and zeros multiplying through the synapses of my brain, as I chase after them trying to decipher their meanings.

The second law of thermodynamics has taught me that work can be pulled from a body only when that body interacts with another at lower temperature. But out here in the night air my body leaks its heat away into the void and what am I accomplishing? I think ahead to the empty bed that awaits me, and wonder what calculations are necessary to reverse the entropy of loneliness. I dream of a body that awaits me there, her breath rising in the cold of the room. I can feel her warmth as I slip beneath the blankets. What laws of thermodynamics can explain love? Electric sparks flow up and down my spine as human touch connects  us, and heat begins to flow.

 

7 thoughts on “The Thermodynamics of Loneliness

  1. You can hear the squeaky styrofoam sound of boots slicing through heavy snow too?
    Awesome!
    Anyway, apparently I’m the only person concerned for the “you” of yesteryear walking home in that desolate cold wasteland where series killers lie in wait for victims to practice on!

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