“What’s so special about Princeton anyway?” you asked on the first sunny day this past summer, in your 9274th attempt to get me to move to New York City.
My answers over the last eleven months at that point had varied from a mock-scandalized “..uh? Michelle Obama???” to the dramatically whined “nothing. absolutely nothing.” You manage to ask me every single time you see me, regardless. I give you a new answer every time you ask, regardless.
Central Park always gets so crowded whenever the sun comes out at the start of the season.. it feels like the entire city decides to get tanned. Even ones like us, who don’t need to get tanned, are out there getting a couple of shades brown-er. You dragged me out there, complete with your rainbow blanket and a thermos full of cheap wine, and insisted on me liking it.
For a quiet person, you can get surprisingly bossy.
I’ll never tell you but I love it.
So I start to tell you the story of one Hugh Everett. In 1954, for his Ph.D thesis at Princeton University, he proposed the idea of multiverses. The long and short of it is that all possible alternate histories and futures are real. That there exists an infinite number of universes with you and me. And every decision we make, creates a whole new universe. Every decision that lies between choosing what to eat for breakfast yesterday, to kissing that boy that made your heart beat really really fast at 17 created a whole new universe with our clones in it going about their lives (and fucking them up in uniquely singular ways).
You could barely imagine the possibilities of what that meant. “So does that mean -” you asked, pulling yourself up on your elbows and squinting down at me laying next to you, “that, that maybe.” I didn’t open my eyes and you didn’t finish the thought. You didn’t have to.
Maybe there is a universe out there where we met first. Where you met me before I met him, the love of my life, the love of my this life. Where I met you before you met him, the one who would leave you with so much heartbreak and the sound of something breaking apart in your chest, right down the middle, leaving you feeling like you’d never recover.
Maybe there is a universe out there where the summer of 2018 did not take this fucking long to arrive. One where we met when we were teenagers and idealistic and not at all cynical about life and love.
There might even be one where we could be each others first loves.
Maybe there is a universe in which the two of us are not so different that sometimes we do not even speak the same language. Figuratively .. and literally. Where there is no Dari, just like there is no Hindi, and we speak the same words and do similar things and everything feels like home.
Isn’t it strange that in this universe, you still feel like home?
Maybe there is one where we never meet at all. Where neither of us moves across the ocean to this strange new land and try to fashion it into a home. One where you never meet me for the first time on that cold October day wearing that bright yellow skirt and smiling wide at a stranger.
You eyes were sad though.
There may even be one where we never touch at all. And maybe there is one where we touched and never stopped.
Then again, maybe all of these universes are happening concurrently to each other, right this moment. So there has to be at least one in which we are happy together, right?
“Yes, maybe,” I had replied and you had smiled in that way that made me smile, settling back down and letting the late afternoon sun turn you golden.
Fiction as always, inspired by real someone(s) and something(s).
Come back soon,
our the future (and New York City) awaits.