“You can’t believe in Multiverse Theory,” he said.
“I can’t? What do you mean?” Because maybe he meant it was impossible. I missed an article or read the last one too quickly and now, here on a bar stool in Cambridge, had talked too far out of my league. Which wouldn’t be an extraordinary circumstance. For all the charm I wish I had, I will trade it for the chance to be right every stupid time.
This had been going badly from the start. It never really had a chance, though. I don’t know what possesses me to say yes in long strings of positivity.
I suppose I’m either all in or all out, and sometimes I just so fiercely want to be in.
He was a badly shaped ghost of a man I thought I loved. And I do love those ghosts. So when he asked me to go to dinner during a week of my tireless yesses, I suckered myself into the exact conversation I knew I’d get with such a hologram.
“It’s not a thing,” he said. He patted my back for reassurance. A flick like a pop top pricked my spine.
“But, in the last…”
“It’s not proven.”
“Well, that’s why it’s a theory,” I said. I smirked.
“Look, it’s just impossible,” he said. He reached for my back but hesitated. Hovered. Took a sip of fruited bourbon and huffed.
“What, because you’re an astro-physicist?”
“Well, yeah. I’m an engineer.”
I stopped smirking. I was eighty percent sure the engineering degree that got him to snowboard for a living did not equate to fielding NASA-level concerns. But I also spent an entire year without an HDMI cable for my HD TV.
“OK, so then, explain it to me. It’s not disproven right?”
“So, why is it impossible?” I wanted to know now. Where was the article I could have read? What is actually happening out there in space?
When I was little I used to lie awake in bed, paralyzed with fear, because WHAT IS SPACE. What happens when there are no edges? No limit, all infinity. Multiverse Theory is like someone recorded my interrogations of my dad at bedtime and made them real. That not only are there no edges, but there are pockets with no bottom, and maybe even parallel lives. And suddenly, there is a tangible result to my lying in bed, stricken with an endless amount of information and ideas. Tangible being the exact wrong word, but there is no word to make real what theories provide for a restless brain.
(For the record, Horton Hears a Who really capitalizes on the panic I have with the endless possibilities of space.)
“You just can’t believe in it.”
“Multiple universes just don’t exist. They can’t. If they did, that would really freak me out.”
My run with saying yes drew to a close. Maybe in another life, he wouldn’t bear any resemblance at all. Maybe in another place I wouldn’t tempt myself with a shimmering illusion. But we’re here, on a Wednesday, and it’s just me and the universe(s), spooking a ghost.