Atlas & Alice | Issue 3, Spring 2015
Redshift The night I went to meet you at Penn Station, I immediately got lost. All the store fronts around the departure board had changed since that summer after college when I would ride the Vermonter into the city, and you would meet me and take me to your parents’ house in Bergen County. After that summer, you moved to Scotland to get your Master’s degree while I stayed at home and worked at a nearby farm, grinding cider apples long past frost. ** On the visible spectrum of light, red has the lowest frequency, and blue the highest. When a luminous object approaches, the wavelength of its light shortens relative to the observer and moves towards the blue end of the spectrum, causing a “blueshift.” ** Now that I’d moved to New York and you were back home again in Jersey, you’d called, asked me to meet. It took me almost half an hour circling the station perimeter before I found you, the one recognizable thing among the chain restaurants and wolf-eyed commuters, your hair longer but your feet still shod in the same battered sneakers. ** When a luminous object moves away, the wavelength of its light stretches and slides towards the red end of the spectrum, causing a “redshift.” ** You took me to a Middle Eastern place somewhere in the village – warm, candle-lit, smelling of pita. You told me about where you’d been before coming home. Tanzania. Croatia. All the things I’d missed since you’d said over a choppy Skype connection that you didn’t think things would work out. ** Nearly all of the light glinting throughout the universe from distant galaxies and stars shows a redshift, which proves that the universe is expanding, all things moving away from each other in all directions. ** The waitress brought us hummus, olives, rice. When the cheque came, they wouldn’t take your credit card – cash only. I paid. Outside, we found one of those sketchy ATMs that remind me of slot machines. I told you it would charge you extra. You said you didn’t care, took the green stack the machine coughed up, paid me back.
Issue 3 | Spring 2015