Two Body Problem by Marie Vibbert

“We’ve really solved our two-body problem,” Robin said.  She started to laugh but she hated how it scratched, amplified on the suit radio.

“Sh,” Aaron said.  “Don’t.”

Through the thick gloves she couldn’t feel the pressure of his grip, but something about his voice made it clear he was squeezing.  She squeezed back, her forearms straining.  “In college, we worried about finding two jobs in the same place.  ‘The two body problem,’ remember?  Everyone worried, how we all fell in love with people who shared our passions, but the world doesn’t provide paired positions for doctorate couples.  But the metaphor means more now, we are two bodies, our linear momentum –”

“I get the joke.”  Aaron’s voice was flat, and his expression was veiled behind the light at the top of his helmet.  Robin pulled him closer, until the light slid away.

“We describe a plane.”

Aaron’s helmet rocked against hers.  “That’s not cute.”

“Well, it’s lucky, isn’t it?  Two physics degrees.  Every job opportunity tried to pull us apart.”

Aaron’s bleak expression softened.  “You had to change specialties.”

“So?  You had to work retail for three months while I was in training.  And then, when you finally got in the program, you had to move home for a year for your mom.  We’ve done a lot, I’m saying, to get here.  To be together.  It’s not a joke.”

“We’re lucky,” Aaron said.  “Imagine if either one of us wasn’t here.  Now, please, honey. Please… no more talking.  Let’s conserve our air.”

 They drifted gently in space, above the wreckage of their craft, content that physics would keep them together at last.

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