Is this Love?...Or are the Chemical Impulses Driving my Every Whim?
"Richie!" I gasped for air as I finally caught up to him.
Slowly turning around, Diedrich looked towards me. My memory of Richie overlapped that of the man in front of me. Just how much had he changed all these years?
I vaguely recalled the statement I made to him back then. Had he truly carried those simple words with him all this time? I couldn't believe it. He had no reason to. There was no logical reason for it, but somehow this situation had led me to believe so.
"Was it you? The one I gave this book to as a child?" I asked him to confirm my suspicions.
With a nod and a sigh, he verified my thoughts. "Yes, I was the fat Richie that was ever so curious about how you could move on when all you had left was a guide."
"Why?" I could feel the tears well up in my eyes. "There was no meaning to that action. Just something to get you to leave me alone. How on earth could it motivate you to do so much, especially for someone like me?!"
My legs gave out as I slumped to the floor. Diedrich walked over and wrapped his arms gently around me.
"To me, that simple action was the key to starting my life all over again. It gave me purpose. It unlocked my potential. It led me back to you. Don't say that it was meaningless. I was very happy to see you once again."
I didn't know what to say. I could hardly believe that he had carried his life out with me in mind. Out of all the possibilities in the world, he was claiming that I had been the reason for his being.
"Here, let me show you something. Would you mind coming inside?"
Diedrich guided me to his apartment and opened the door. Stepping inside, I saw that it was quite the mess. Papers were strewn about. Various notes and clippings were taped onto every wall. At first glance, it appeared as nothing more than a madman's attempt at organizing his master plan.
However, the words detailed on those various notes and papers soon attracted my attention. Articles about the current work that we were doing, articles about various disciplines that loosely related to our work, contacts of different people who were renowned for various achievements – it was like a catalogue that had been meticulously put together to come up with solutions for our scientific challenges.
How much extra work did he put into all of this? How much time and effort had he expended pursuing different avenues, knowing that a majority of them would only lead to dead ends?
I accidentally knocked over a pile of papers, which scattered around the floor. Bending over to pick them up, I noticed my name across many of them. Not only journal articles but also research that I had done years prior to this point.
He had been following my path from the very beginning, racing to chase up to me and collecting everything that could help it along with him.
"How? Why? What could motivate you to do so much? All to help me…"
"Somewhere along the way, I realized just how much that moment mattered to me. I wanted to return the favor. No matter how long it took. At that time, I guess I must have realized…that you, you were my first love…no, you still are."
The papers fell from my hands at the sound of his confession. I couldn't believe my ears.
"But, I got jealous of you…"
"That doesn't matter."
"I even thought about sabotaging your work…"
"I'll just re-do it again, no matter how many times it fails."
"How can you love someone like me?!" I screamed at him.
"Because I do. There's no scientific reason behind it. Does there need to be? If there is, then that will be my next goal to prove to you."
Seeing the conviction in his eyes, I couldn't come up with any more excuses. Nothing I said would convince him otherwise. I walked up to him and laid my head against his chest. Digging my head in to hear his heartbeat, I could feel myself calming down. Feeling secure from the touch of his body and his words, the dark spots that had been housed within my heart started to lighten.
"You better take responsibility then. Just like how I motivated you to succeed, help me find my place then." I looked up at his face.
"Of course. We've come so far on our own. I can't wait to see what we can do together."
Placing a hand on my cheek, he bent down and brought his lips to mine. The warm touch of our lips together was all that I needed to move forward. Like magic, the darkness completely disappeared.
My father's book fell from my hands. I no longer needed it as a guide. Diedrich had created a brand-new place for me to follow, forged from his own years of work.
I lifted up my veil and peeked over at my professor who was standing in the place that my father would have if he were alive. Though I had already graduated, he was honored to be the one to give me away.
As I waited for the moment to start, I looked over to the side where there was a large board that displayed pictures of Diedrich and I scattered about, showing all the memories we had accumulated together.
Underneath, two awards were proudly displayed that highlighted our greatest achievements so far.
"To Diedrich Wendell – For the invention of carbon composite materials for lightweight, durable aircraft."
"To Kaylen Donnelly – For the invention of metal-insulator-metal diodes for high-efficiency conversion of solar energy."
With Diedrich's help, I had managed to discover an entirely new purpose for the research that I had been doing, which had opened the doors toward my own career. No longer limited by the inventions of my father, my potential seemingly expanded more than I had ever realized.
At this point, Diedrich and I had found careers in different fields, but still, there were many times in which we would pick each other's brain to find the right solution. Determined to do better than the other, our little rivalry was well known in our respective companies. But they didn't mind, as long as we continued to bring forward new and interesting ideas.
"Oh, the music has started. Better get into position." My professor extended his arm to me, in which I took.
The doors opened, with Diedrich handsomely dressed in a tuxedo, waiting at the altar.
Taking a step forward into the church, I couldn't help but shed a happy tear as I thought about how fortunate I was.
Who would've thought that one tiny action would cause a chain-reaction leading up to this very moment? No scientist in the world would believe the insurmountable odds that it would take for this chance to happen, but I didn't care anymore.
Diedrich lifted the veil, and we became lost in the kiss that cemented our bonds.
Science brought us the seed of love. It held a place in our heart, waiting for the chance to blossom. It brought us back together again. And it will carry us forward into the future.
Even if we couldn't prove it, we had all the results we needed, right here in this moment.