The universe is toast and it’s my entire fault.
There are infinite worlds, through a veritable infinity of days and yet this moment was on one, before this particular schism of timelines. Each was linked of course; webs of subatomic particles strung each to the other in a network of infinite possibilities. Already through the choices made, there were alternative earths with differing histories, some similar and some radically different from our own. I say our own, but of course I mean mine. It might be that you have winked out of existence, without you even realising. Or perhaps I am now a never was, due to the past choices of others? Do I talk to myself? Do I really exist and if not, how do I ask myself these questions? I hear the radio in the background attempting to set the parameters of this reality, but do I really? What if all this is a figment of my own imagination? Was Descartes correct in his assumption of cognito ergo sum?
If only I could have the best of all worlds…
But like it or not, I am a traveller through the quantum universe. The world you see seems settled and familiar; the solar system an orrery that moves like clockwork on its set patterns, set in a swirling galaxy, in a universe that counts the hours since its violent birth at the beginning of time. But this is an error, an illusion we escape into to preserve our fragile sanity.
If you could see at the subatomic scale (although seeing isn’t the correct term, as at this level, light has no meaning, as we would be beneath the peaks and troughs of photonic wavelengths) then you would observe a seething chaos, an insane madness where quarks and neutrinos exist and don’t exist, occupying the same space in the multiverse. Some spin but do not show us the same face until one and a half rotations.
Being aware of this doesn’t make it easier to understand. It makes no sense, this can’t be real, this must be my imagination and yet I do feel hungry. Do I feel hunger when I dream? Have I ever dreamt of eating? I can’t recall.
But like a Star Trek episode, dealing with these quandaries, everything has a cause and effect. What I do now could cascade through the future but I must make a decision, and make it soon. I’ve weighed the options; sweet or savoury, strawberry jam or marmite. Are my needs the only indicator that I can rely upon? More time! I need more time! Maybe I can defer for a moment?
But suddenly with a violence akin to the big bang the time is upon me, filling my senses; the sound of the forceful ejection, the sight and the smell of the carbonising process. I reach for both the items from their apertures. They are both hot, threatening to burn my fingers. Surely this must be another sign, an indication that I truly exist?
So now I am at that final point, whereby a decision is needed, but I defy this cruel universe. It shall not force my hand; I will have the best of all worlds. I laugh then at the universe and revel in my cleverness; of course, it was obvious. I spread the butter over the two cooling slices of toast and reach for the jam AND the marmite, one for each. Victory, this timeline stays whole with its infinite possibilities preserved.
And yet as I reach into the cupboard, I see the universe mocking me yet again and seeding my mind with doubt… peanut butter… I’d forgotten about the peanut butter!