Author : Glenn Blakeslee

Two people sat in the observation room, side by side, their fingers intertwined.

From behind a two-way mirror my associate Maria and I watched the man and the woman. We were sociologists and, recently, biological partners intent on parenting a child. The man and the woman in the observation room were there because together they’d exhibited unusual behavior, and confused authorities had thought our expertise might shed some light.

One of the subjects Maria and I studied were memes, cultural ideas that propagate through behavior and media. Since the spread of the anti-meme six decades ago this study was a lost art. The anti-meme was an overarching idea which blocked the ability, in those infected, to absorb other infective ideas.

So we lived in a rational world. Gone were the reactionaries, the revolutionaries, the radicals who passed sometimes violent and cataclysmic ideas to others, and acted upon them. We held logical and reasonable political discourse, worshipped without dogma, and raised our children in a civilization gone quiet with stability and measured growth. Advertising was dead, popular music was no longer popular nor galvanizing, and we dressed according to our environmental needs.

Maria and I sat watching the man and woman. The room was quiet, environmental controls sighed, the microphones in the observation room relayed no talk between the two. They sat there only gazing at one another, holding hands. Maria and I spoke about our attempts to reproduce, and quietly agreed to organize our schedules to increase our couplings and the likelihood of success, when we noticed a change in the observation room.

The man moved his arm to the back of the chair the woman sat in, and then up along her shoulders and over her arm. The woman slumped to the side of the man, her head tipped forward, and their foreheads met and touched. The man released the woman’s hand and moved his other hand to her face, cupped the side of her neck and jaw, brought his face up and his lips to hers, and they kissed.

“I love you,” the man said. “I love you,” the woman said, looking into the man’s eyes.

I looked at Maria, she at me. This was the behavior we were looking for but it no longer mattered. Maria’s eyes sparkled, her skin glowed, and I wanted to have children with her. I wanted to put my arms around her, to hold her to me and to not let go. I knew then that she was my life, she was my world. She smiled and I knew it was so for her, too.

If love is an idea, then let the idea spread. Let the whole world be engulfed in this fashion, this passion, in all things.

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