Spontaneous Combustion

I’ve been thinking about chemical reactions these days. Wikipedia says:

A chemical reaction is a process that leads to to the transformation of one set of chemical substances to another. Chemical reactions can be either spontaneous, requiring no input of energy, or non-spontaneous, typical following the input of some type of energy, viz heat, light or electricity. Classically, chemical reactions encompass changes that strictly involve the motion of electrons in the forming and breaking of chemical bonds, although the general concept of a chemical reaction, in particular the notion of a chemical equation, is applicable to transformations of elementary particles, as well as nuclear reactions. ~ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_reaction


I wouldn’t argue with Wiki. I see the correlation of chemical reactions in science and chemical reactions between two people. Spontaneous? That would be the love/lust at first sight. We’ve all felt it. I can look at a picture of a guy who possesses the ‘look’ that causes a chemical reaction in me. I didn’t know I had a certain look until fairly recently. I never paid that much attention to it. I figured it was just random, but I know now it’s not. For me, the boyish face with a square jaw and blue eyes captivate me. The way he carries himself and the depth of his eyes when he looks at me, causes a skip in my heartbeat.

Non-spontaneous? Requiring some input of energy? I’ve felt it. Most notably would be the day my workplace needed to call 911. In less than ten minutes there were four firemen and five paramedics tending to an individual who had fallen resulting in a lump the size of a golf ball on her forehead. Now, admittedly a man in uniform will cause the temperature to rise in most females; that ‘rescue fantasy’ is deeply hidden within most successful business women.

I watched at the doorway of the washroom while one 30ish medic crouched down beside the patient and spoke gently to her. He held her head up and tried to assess the injury without her able to speak. When he looked up and questioned me, the gentleness, kindness, and compassion so evident in his voice and actions, caused a ‘chemical reaction’ in me. Non-spontaneous.

Chemical reactions encompass changes? Breaking of chemical bonds? Oh, yes. Remember the ancient film ‘Body Heat,’ starring William Hurt and Kathleen Turner? I will never forget that famous scene where he stares at her from outside her balcony and then picks up a chair and breaks the window to embrace her? A fine example of a strong chemical reaction encompassing change and breaking of chemical bonds.

Nuclear reactions? Use your imagination.

A favorite author of mine has this to say about the subject:

“I do not have any other way of saying it. I think it happens but once and only to the very young when it feels like your skin could ignite at the mere touch of another person. You get to love like that but once.” ~ Pat Conroy in Beach Music.


John Keats and his muse Fanny Brawne had enough chemistry to inspire these words from him to her:

Bright Star

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art-
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors–
No–yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever–or else swoon to death.

A good friend of mine is new to the online dating scene. I gave her some homework to do:

“Book and go out on a date within two weeks. Get your feet wet, Gertrude!”

So she did.

I read his profile and he sounded wonderful. Nice looking, intelligent, athletic, and adventurous. His letters were well written and respectful. His intentions seemed honorable. He was financially well off living in a very prestigious area. On the second date he invited her over for dinner and she went.

The following day she revealed to me that she helped him prepare the dinner and while they moved back and forth around the kitchen prepping, she realized that it was a potentially romantic activity with a member of the opposite sex. There should be that chemical reaction happening as their bodies would accidentally brush against each other, their hands touching as they passed vegetable to pot. The steam from the boiling water dampen their foreheads and trigger images of other sweat-inducing activity…

But alas, no. It wasn’t there for her. Not that she was repulsed in any way, but there wasn’t any chemical reaction happening that would break the bonds creating a nuclear reaction.

I am fearful of this kind of high intensity. I’ve felt it. And I’ve turned and walked quickly away. I remember him well. A bad boy if there ever was one. His name was Louis. That combustion took a couple of years of smoldering to finally be extinguished. He sat next to me only once and I couldn’t breathe. He passed me a cigarette and our fingers touched and yes, my friend, that electrical charge went straight through me. I avoided any such contact from there on. I feared our chemistry would burn and leave me as nothing.

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt a chemical reaction. I thought it was something that you can’t detect online with just a picture, but I’m wrong. I saw his picture last night. He’s leaning against his vehicle, his face unshaven and this casual, a-little-bit-lazy-look crossing his lips.

I copied and pasted it so I don’t forget I have a pulse.


Spontaneous Combustion © 2011 Adrienne S Moody. Read the latest Adrienne exploit on Now.readthisplease.


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