Entanglements

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Eo yawned. It was late, and Ally should have passed by already.
Every night between 9 p.m. and 9:45 p.m., Ally took Radar for his last walk of the night. Sometimes, they hustled by, Radar in the lead, ears pointed, tail erect, prancing ahead as if he was unchained, unencumbered by this human trotting behind. As if Radar would be surprised to turn around and see Ally there, in perpetual proximity.
Other times, Ally was in the lead, pulling and tugging as she muttered “c’mon” into the dark. Radar would plant himself, legs splayed on the ground, refusing to budge. And Ally’s “c’mon boys” would grow more guttural, more annoyed.
Eo sipped his coffee, already cold and too weak to do its job tonight. He looked at his watch. Almost 10:15 p.m. Where were they?
In so many ways, it mattered not at all whether Ally and Radar came by. At the most, Eo would pause what he was doing, look up and wave, mouthing a quiet “Hi.” She’d return the wave.
They never talked. Not at night.
And it also wasn’t unusual for them to say nothing to each other, to not even acknowledge the other’s presence. He still noticed Ally though. Only maybe he’d glance up when she was already past, or bending over, one of those flimsy poop bags in her hand – and he’d not want to disturb her.
Still even if there was no hello, no wave, no tug from Radar, who always noticed Eo, Eo counted on Ally’s presence as a kind of anchor to his night. The pinch of reality on his arm.
Yes, I’m here. My neighbor is walking her dog before going to bed.
This is real.
The macro world presenting itself as is.
A woman and a dog. A night sky.
Decoherence at its loveliest.
He needed that after a day spent in his head, getting lost in the confusing alleyways of quantum physics. Theorizing about subatomic particles, Eo was comfortable with that feeling of perpetual disorientation: the particles are there and not there, more likely here but not necessarily. There was no way to know for sure. They were both simultaneously. And if by chance, he could theorize where they were, who could say exactly how they’d behave? And what impact did his looking have on their behavior? Did his glance determine their action?
And what if he didn’t look?
Why should how he observed them have any impact at all?
Danish physicist Niels Bohr once wrote, “if you can think about quantum theory without getting dizzy, you don’t get it.”
When he stepped away from his computer and his whiteboard and his makeshift lab (yes, he was one of those physicists who came home from his proper lab and muddled around in his garage lab), Eo found his head spinning.
And that’s why these moments were so important: Ally walking by with Radar.
It brought him back to reality.
He was just a guy working in his garage, looking out at a woman walking her dog.
And, yet, tonight…Eo glanced at his watch: 10:22 p.m. Where were they? Late, certainly. She’d never missed a night.
He’d been studying the Chinese lab results on entanglement, that “spooky action at a distance” that Einstein complained about. A change to one particle seems to impact its entangled mate, even when their distance apart makes that inconceivable.
What if he and Ally were entangled in a way he didn’t understand? Eo in his garage, every night when Ally and Radar walk by. Ally walking by every night as Eo worked in his garage.
“No, don’t do this to yourself,” Eo said aloud.
10:25 p.m. Where was she?
And if she was nowhere, where was he?
Like when he was a child, he’d believed that he alone willed the world into being. That he could close his eyes and time, people, places would disintegrate. It made him frightened to sleep alone, and he insisted his mother cuddle up alongside him. And not just lie next to him, but face him, look at him. As if that somehow would save her while he slept.
Don’t be crazy, he told himself. You’re working too hard. Go to bed.
He couldn’t risk it. Eo leaned over and poured the rest of the coffee pot into his cup. He’d wait.
Either she was coming or she wasn’t? Either it meant something or it didn’t?
There are only two possibilities: yes or no.

About the Author: 
Mara is a journalist and a dreamer who wishes she paid more attention in high school and college physics class.