Mae December Chemistry

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A budding romance with a wide age gap begins over a table of elements and flourishes with possibilities of long-lasting life prospects.

Compatible Chemistry


Robert Clark is a shy but smart sophomore at a local university who lives in an apartment with his mother. There, he prefers to study in the communal recreation room overlooking the swim­ming pool.

While doing so, another tenant dips her toe in the water to check the temperature. She then dives in and swims a few laps. Emerging from the pool to towel dry her hair, she notices Robert and waves her hand before walking upstairs to her apartment.

The next day, Robert studies in the same place, looking up frequently to see if the woman returns. But she does not. On the weekend, while washing clothes in the building laundromat, he bumps into her.

“Oh, yikes… hi! You’re… the swimmer…, right?” he stammers.

“Hello…. It’s not my forte, but yes, I was in the pool a few days ago.”

“I noticed you… while studying chemistry… in the recreation room.”

“How are you doing in that class?”

“I’d be lying if I say it’s easy.”

“Is that something you do often?”

“What? Chemistry?”

“No…, lie. Do you lie often?” she asks.

“Oh, no. Of course not.”

“That’s good to know. If you ever need a chemistry tutor, I’m in apartment 211. It’s the first prime number on the second floor.”

“Great, thanks. Easy to remember. Bye…. Wait! I mean…”

“It’s Mae. That’s my name.”

“Right…, Mae… your name. Oh, I’m Robert Clark…. Not either/or…. Together… two first names.”

“Nice to meet you, Robert.”

“Likewise…. See you soon…. Second-floor… prime number”

Like most teenage boys having a conversation with an attractive young woman, he concludes the tutoring is a euphemism. So the next day, he dowses himself with cologne and chews on half a pack of breath mints before ringing Mae’s doorbell.

She comes to the door and gets a whiff of Old Spice and spearmint. “Wow, that’s some chemistry you’re wearing! You either came straight from the gym or misunderstood my offer. Can I meet you inside the recreation room in about 20 minutes? Don’t forget your chemistry books.”

“Sure, um…. Yes, I’ll be there. Of course, we need to study… chemistry. Perhaps I’ll rinse off some of this cologne.”

“That would be helpful. See ya.”

“Yeah, thanks…. Less cologne and more books,” says the tongue-tied Robert.

Mae December Ellis, Ph.D. is an attractive 29-year-old single female. To say Robert is awkward around women is an understatement. It is one reason he does not join study groups at the university.

Robert rushes back to his apartment to remove some of the cologne with a soapy washcloth. Then he goes to the recreation room, anxiously waiting. When Mae arrives, he tries to keep from stumbling over his words.

“Hi, Mae. I’m sorry if I gave you the wrong impression. I’m very excited to be studying you… with you! If you can help, I am lost in some of this chemistry.”

“Take a deep breath and try to calm down. I offered to help because I have a degree in microbiology.”

“Wow, that’s awesome.” Opening a book, Robert says, “Here’s what I’m studying….”

“Okay, I can assist with that. When are your chemistry classes?”

“Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.”

“Well, I can tutor you about this time on Monday, Wednesday, and Sunday. I have to leave Friday and Saturday open for dating.”

“That would be great…. The tutoring…, not the dates. Although that’s fine too… with someone else… if you want. Is there an easy way to remember the periodic table of elements?”

“I’ll share what helps me. Then you let me know if it works for you….”

Mae begins tutoring the 19-year-old college student. During the first few months, Robby, as Mae calls him, is happy to gain a better understanding of a challenging school subject. Sometimes they meet in the school library. Dodging the watchful eyes of neighbors, there is occasional studying in Mae’s apartment.

Time Stopper

During one study session, Mae initiates a theoretical discussion about anti-aging technology.

“Consider the possibilities before you if your DNA could undergo modification and suppress the effects of aging.”

Nearing the age of 20, Robby has no desire to be any younger. At the moment, he wishes he was closer to Mae’s age. Like many women, Mae would like to be forever 29 years old. Though her discussion of anti-aging offers fascinating prospects, Robby shuts it down as something fraught with damaging possibilities.

“First, everyone you know would need the same treatment or they would die off before you do. What if there is localized age suppression in only some parts of the body? You could have a young face with internal organs wearing out.

“Besides, the people with the most interest would be the elderly who are already suffering from ailments. Would the technology reverse aging or preserve them with their illnesses?”

Robby brings up some smart objections. Seeing him totally shut down the notion, Mae tables the subject, even though it is a stealth project of her own. She toys with the thought of halting her aging until Robby catches up.

By the time Robby graduates and turns 21, the two of them are dating. His family is reluctantly supportive. They caution Robby that he should explore relationships with other women closer to his age.

Robbing The Cradle

At age 22, Robby gets a job as a chemist and marries Mae. Though registering for 118 gifts corresponding to the table of elements, they receive far fewer.

The newlyweds move from the apartment building under the microscope of Robby’s mother. Mae urgently wants to begin having children. Within three years she gives birth to two healthy kids—Titan (short for Titanium) followed by Radium.

They move to a larger home that is more suitable for raising a family. It has a spare room that Mae can use for science experiments.

Robby is a good provider who is satisfied with cost-of-living increases and annual bonuses. They have a good life with annual vacations.

The children excel in science. While hiking at national parks, Robby teaches them about the table of elements and nature. Titan and Radium grow up with similar interests in biology and computer science. The daughter, Radium, wants to become a doctor and Titan, the son, pursues a future as a scientist.

Mae urges Robby to present her cutting-edge research to his employers. His unambitious shy nature prevents him from doing so.

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