It is at the apotheosis of her career that Rosalind finds herself bereft of speech. Not of inarticulacy. Rather, commitment to diction. Rosalind worries her words like an inaugural fold, of fear she might seem as loquacious as her dying prophet.
"Good morning", "charmed" or an insouciant "how do you do?" will not suffice. Such frivolity simply does not befit an occasion such as this. After all, one would not wear a tea-gown to a late breakfast.
"It's a pleasure to meet you," is precisely three degrees adrift of appropriate. Firstly, (as pleasurable a pursuit this might be) it is a strictly scientific one. Second, the two of them have met (and will meet) innumeral times across countless realities. Third, her gentleman caller from a neighbouring existence is not a "you" but rather a "me" and perhaps an "us". And despite one's predilection to break the rules, scientific or otherwise, one finds "it's a pleasure to meet us" a wretchedly unsyntactic affair.
"Well met" gives the wrong impression entirely. That Rosalind's parlour accommodates gentlefolk so seldomly she lacks good manners. Or worse, that she intends to shepard him into a cabinet particulier and partake in a tryst that might satiate a prurient curiosity that could only be born of the gelid waters of midcoast Maine.
If only one could navigate the rocky shores of conversation as deftly as birds navigate the earth's magnetic fields.
Rosalind insists that it is he, not she, that takes the plunge (lest she change her mind or be sent back from whence she came like shopsoiled vendibles.) Brother has doubts. Be that as it may, Rosalind yields to a man no more than convention or her supposed answerability to the universe.
Lo, it is Robert that bids adieu to the only reality he has ever known. As he crosses the threshold like a colonist of yore moving into the new world, she settles, plainly on: "Hello, brother."
Robert smiles. An arched, affected and handsome smile. Thence, in an act of egotism (or perhaps the Oedipal) Rosalind finds herself wretchedly in love with a man who both is and is not herself; caught up in the sentiment of equilibrium.
There is a romance in constituting neither heads nor tails but rather, the coin itself. Suspended midair across space time and concomitantly all realities yet none at all. Not two disparate halves of a whole but rather, one soul in two separate bodies. The two of them are quantum entangled with a red thread. Were she to subscribe to such claptrap, that is.
As it turns out, the universe is an uncaring bedfellow. Rosalind makes this discovery when her brother (not unlike her atom) fails to fall. And as though she were trying to disengage him from her realm and disarticulate their lives' work in one fell swoop, Robert sustains a mighty haemorrhage of the nose and succumbs to gravity.
Brother is a star: existing in a state of dynamic equilibrium and prone to collapse. Moreso with the the subsequent onset of anaemia. Rosalind suspects that one day he will disintegrate with a gravity so strong not even light can escape his immediate proximity. For now, she gathers handkerchiefs.