By: Andrew Ramon
Einstein had his own personal views about how the world worked. He believed in what he called “cosmic religion,” where God’s presence was easy to find in the rational nature of the universe. In his opinion, chaos wasn’t a part of nature, and according to him, “God does not play dice.” However, in quantum mechanics all you can see is the probability of what state the atom you’re looking at is going to be in. Several people have tried to find some kind of hidden variable that will give us a definite state that every particle will be in, but so far, it’s impossible. So if you actually do the math, not only do we find that God does in fact play dice, but it looks more like he plays Yahtzee. However, it doesn’t take a theoretical physicist, or even Forrest Gump for that matter, to know that life is unpredictable. Albeit, there are some things that most people really don’t expect to go through. For example, when your daughter dies of Neuroblastoma before her eighth birthday. No one tells you how to prepare for that. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle in action. Another example would be when a virus wipes the planet in under a month, including mission control. So maybe Einstein was an idiot, and I’m the only one that’s brave enough to say it. My partner, Olivia, strongly disagrees with me in this. She thinks that everything happens for a reason, including the moment we said goodbye to our daughter. In other news, we will probably be running out of oxygen within the next few hours, so at least I have that to look forward to. I sit there looking out the window into the cosmos, when Olivia floats over to me. She comes up from behind me then wraps her arms around me. We float there together for a few seconds, and it’s nice.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” she asks. I turn around to face her when she asks, “Can you imagine anything more beautiful than this?” I tell her that I don’t have to imagine it, because I’m already looking at it. She rolls her eyes and replies, “Oh you think you’re so smooth don’t you?” NASA was originally concerned about sending us together, especially after the problems that we’d been having. But we make a damn good team, and they couldn’t deny that. She laughs, then takes my hand and pushes off the wall. We float back and start spinning together. Newton’s third law of motion comes to mind. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. As much as my brain wants to enjoy this moment, I can’t stop thinking about the inevitable reality of death that will be here within the next hour. I think of the method that Buddhist yogis use to keep themselves in the present at every moment. They do this by referring to themselves as if they are witnessing their actions from outside their body. Eventually they will forget and go back to normal, but they begin again the second they remember it. For example, he is floating there trying to keep his mind off of the future. He is looking at his wife floating there, and thinking about the first time he ever saw her. He is wondering how they wasted so many years almost hating each other. He is thinking about how happy he is that he never asked her for a divorce. She looks out the window again and asks me,
“Still don’t believe there’s an afterlife?”
“God I hope not,” I tell her, “that sounds exhausting.”
She throws her head up and groans. “You are such a Capricorn,” she tells me. I laugh a little, and sarcastically tell her that I’m so sure. Her smile fades. Uh-oh. She lets go of my hands, then kicks off my chest and pushes away from me. Newton’s third law. He regrets mocking her. He begins to feel like a jerk. He wonders how he could be so stupid. I think back to the very beginning of our relationship, before Sarah, before the vows, even before our first mission, before everything. After a few dates, she asked me for my birthdate so that she could find my star sign. I didn’t even try to hide my disbelief at this. I remember asking her how someone, especially in our field, could still care about that. Ignoring the mountains of proof against it. The numerous studies disproving it. The denial of it by titans in our industry, Sagan, Hawking, Tyson, even Einstein, regardless of his stupid ideas. We argued for hours and hours, until finally, she hit me with a question that I wasn’t expecting. She asked me that if she enjoyed it, and it wasn’t hurting anyone, and it gave her hope, then why would I want to take that from her, and I didn’t have an answer. That might have been the moment that I fell in love with her. The fact that we could debate something so miniscule for that long and still have fun together afterwards was something I had really experienced with anyone other than her. She floats there upside down, or maybe I am, or I guess there is no upside down up here. He is trying to conjure up an apology. I float back over to her, then flip over to meet her eye to eye. I tell her I’m sorry, but she just smirks and says,
“I know, I just like messing with you.” She reaches behind her, then presses a button. “Mr. Blue” by the Fleetwoods begins to play. The song that played at our wedding. She floats back to me, then wraps her arms around my neck. We begin to spin, and my mind goes back to how we spun together on our wedding night. I can’t believe that after all those years we’re finally dancing together, or at least the closest we can get to dancing in zero gravity. Eventually we stop spinning and we sit there, floating together.
“Today would have been Sarah’s tenth birthday,” she says to me. Yahtzee. I’ve stopped counting the days ever since we lost contact with Earth. “I hope there is an afterlife,” she says, “that way we’ll get to see her again.” I tell her that regardless if there’s an afterlife or not, we’ll all be there together. I tell her that I’d rather be nowhere with both of them, than somewhere with neither of them. A single tear floats off from her eye and corruscates in the little bit of light coming through the window. She rests her head on my chest, and together we look out at the stars. We hold each other tighter as we gaze out into the cosmos, and it’s nice. This must be what God feels like. The longer we stay there, the more I begin to drift off. He is holding his wife, knowing that any moment could be their last. He is accepting his fate, and he is happy with it. He is at peace.
Art Piece by Isa G.