A Lesson in Theoretical Physics

mathematics-989121_1920Forget mathematical equations or people in white coats wearing glasses that double, triple the size of their eyes. Forget words like Quantum Field Theory. Don’t go into bookstores asking to be pointed to the science section.

Just don’t. Forget it.

We, all of us, vibrate at a frequency that allows us to perceive one another in a three-dimensional space. We can talk to one another, touch one another, see, smell, taste one another. We can move forward, backward, left, right, up, down, all around. Examine everything from every angle. Every wrinkle, fold, and follicle.

It’s all there. The potential to understand each other.

Even after someone’s gone.

Think about it this way: Say you’re trying to show a sphere to a two-dimensional stickman. You smush a ball into his flat world and ask him to describe what he saw. He’d tell you all he saw was a dot that turned into a small circle, then a bigger circle, and then shrunk back down to a dot again before disappearing. Your stickman will never be able to comprehend the sphere. It will never be a ball to him. Just an explainable phenomenon.

We’re stick-people when we try to perceive fourth, fifth, sixth dimensional stuff, beings—whatever.

But the part that’s so fantastical is that, according to theoretical physicists, we may occupy the same space as extra-dimensional somethings. We just vibrate on a frequency that doesn’t allow us to understand them.

But they’re there.

All the time.

They’re sitting in the chair you’re in right now. Sleeping in your bed. Using your toilet. Reading your books, watching your DVDs, rifling through your internet search history. To them, your stuff is their stuff. You may not even exist to them, same way they don’t to us. But they’re there.

It’s different, of course, when someone leaves.

They don’t exit our plane of existence, they’re just gone.

But you could drive past them every morning on your way to work.

Walk the same steps they took on their way across the gym parking lot—the atoms from the soles of their running sneakers clinging to yours.

Run your fingers along the same cans of soup at the supermarket they may have just touched—the kind you know they eat after a horrible day at the office.

Sit in a movie theater seat they may have just left their butt-print in—the same butt-print that used to be on your couch, your bed, haloed in steam on the glass shower wall.

There’s comfort in that like there’s wonder in extra-dimensional whatevers.

No, they’re not in and around you like the things out in the multiverse.

But there’s always a chance of breathing in a wisp of the carbon dioxide they let go of just now.


And now.

There’s always the possibility that a molecule of skin’ll get left behind on a door handle at the mall, or the drugstore, or the restaurant you went to together all the time.

There’s always the hope that the hair clinging to your peacoat could be theirs. That the smudge on your pint glass is from their lips.

All of the theories and conjecture are better than nothingness.

Traditional science says that more than likely we’re alone in our universe. So far from anything else—if there is anything else—that we’re impossible to find.

But, just for a minute, accept the idea that an empty room could be full.

Doesn’t matter with what.

Because then even the blackest, darkest spaces are stuffed with infinity.

Because then an endless multiverse doesn’t have to be a lonely place.

It can be full.

Of smells, tastes, sounds. Of spectral near-misses. Of the possibility of anything, everything.

When anything is possible nothing’s not.

Math, scientists, tongue-twisty theories, a bunch of books—they’re all fine. They’ll give you reasons. Provide proof.

But really, what proof do you need? You’re breathing the same air. Walking the same sidewalks. Feeling the same sun.

You can’t see them.

But they’re there.

NICK GREGORIO lives, writes, and teaches just outside of Philadelphia. His fiction has appeared in Crack the Spine, Hypertrophic Literary, Maudlin House and more. He is a contributing writer and assistant editor for the arts and culture blog, Spectrum Culture, and currently serves as fiction editor for Driftwood Press. He earned his MFA from Arcadia University in May 2015 and has fiction forthcoming in Zeit|Haus and Corvus Review.