art by Liz Clarke
How Love Works
by Stephen Gaskell
Planck's constant: a constant that gives the unvarying ratio of the energy of a quantum of radiation to its frequency, and a cornerstone of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. Approx. value of 6.62 x 10-34 Js--symbol h, discovered by Planck in 1899 AD.
You never recovered from that first heartbreak.
You were sixteen. You gave her your most valuable possession, a Powell Peralta skateboard signed by Stacey Peralta himself, and promised to teach her to ollie no matter how long it took. You meant it. In 1989 you missed Rodney Mullin performing a 360 kickflip on London's South Bank in order to help paint her room. Three months later you caught her cheating in that same room with a Danish rapper named Arenski.
You couldn't understand why it'd happened. His rapping was terrible.
Gordon Hargreaves, your best friend, offered to take you to Amsterdam. Your Mum cooked your favorite dinner--haddock and sweet corn pie, chips, and veg--five nights in a row. Your Dad didn't say anything. You didn't find these things helpful, although you did enjoy the meals even if the veg was always over-boiled.
You never wanted to experience that bleakness, that loss, that crippling, gut-pitting feeling that made you curl up into a ball and rock from side to side again, so you vowed to never love another until you knew the shape of the human heart. You thought the answer lay in the world.