“Did you ever read that book, One Hundred Years of Solitude?” Her wife set the papers she was grading aside, this was going to be One of Those Conversations. “Couldn’t give you Cliff Notes now but I did, long time ago.” “One hundred years ago?” She smiled. “Not quite a hundred, no.”
“It’s just I’ve been thinking about it quite a lot lately.” “On what level?” She gestured to the face masks hanging by the door, to the laptops and tablets they conducted their careers through, to the industrial tub of hand sanitizer atop the piano at the far end of their living room. “Yes. Right.”
“Marquez wrote that in the Sixties. Considering inflation, it should be around One Hundred and Eighty Years of Solitude by now.” So, that’s where her artist was heading with this, she should have known. “Oh God.” She barely got a sigh in edgewise before her wife started again. “Now, dogs would be more like around Fourteen and A Quarter Years of Solitude, if my math’s right.”
“Your math’s right but your science isn’t at all, that’s just a myth.” Her wife stared at her. “I’m pretty sure the book exists, love.” They’d been married for years, she still couldn’t tell when she was actually ignorant to sciences or just playing stupid for fun. A full lifetime together, perhaps, she’d finally see it was usually the latter. “You know what I mean, the dog-year thing. Pups age to something like our teens in one year. They mature ten years the next year then more like four or five to one, there on out.” Her wife exaggerated a pretend roll of her eyes before her response.
“Of course, the biologist knows that.” A smirk. “The farm girl who had nine dogs knows that.”
“It’s funny how time is like that, speeds up and slows down, depending who you are, where you are, what you’re doing. We act like time’s uniform for everyone but really it’s all lumpy mashed potatoes, isn’t it? Dense chunk here, watery slurry there, different texture every spoonful.”
“They say if an astronaut got to light-speed without, you know, collapsing under her then near-infinite mass, that’s how it’d feel. Relativity would dilate time for her, could be months for the astronaut but forty years back on Earth. A whole generation could pass them by in their transit.”
“That’s what it feels like. Like this,” she gestured again at the masks and the gels and the distant social apparatus, “fire and ice, sprints to stops, hurry up and wait, one hundred years of solitude in the inconvenient package of a single year.” She walked over to her wife and embraced her, a small moment of knowing that in the middle of it all, then and there, at least they were together.
“So much for magical realism, though.” “We can call it the mundane surreal, if you like.” “One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Abridged 2020 Edition.” “Or that. That works for me as well.”