Quantum Faith

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“Quantum faith.” Her haughty whisper bore the puckish glint in her eyes, those two jewels dulled by a lifetime of bright lights and harsh numbers. The old man sat still, stroking her dying hair. He felt the warmth creeping away, the certainty of life dwindling away into the heat death. No words, but his presence said everything.

“The way I see it, there are only two possibilities: yes or no. No? You have to agree with me, Ed. Our happy lives wasting away studying what we love, oh what I’ll do for one more day wasting away again, basking in all that we cannot see, to reach out into the stars among us...Ed. Ed?”

The old man squeezed her hand. Life bore a verdict on her frail body, her years spent hurtling beyond the grasp of light leaving time choking in her wake. Her life, as do her senses, her hearing, her sight, her touch, all shrinking into a certainty, the certainty of the void. A most particular case of special relativity magnified. She has lived for more than 7 decades, yet she had only lived 3.

And still, he waited for her.

“Ed, I’ll tell you of all the wonderful things I saw, but listen to me on this. Yes and no. Yes, yes is what we are. And no, no is what we become. We are all a matter of yes and no’s, aren’t we?”

He squeezed her hand. If there was one person who would not have said that, it would be her. Her entire life built upon the uncertain, trying to observe the unobservable, one would have thought that she knew life as a question mark. Her disentanglement with reality, sending her tunneling through space-time...she was there, yet she was 4 decades ahead already. Life, quite possibly everything but yes or no. His life too, grappling with yes and no’s and everything in between, for the question of an eternity dwells outside the realm of binary answers. Was it worth the wait? An answer outside of yes, or no.

And still, he waited for her.

“Ed, now think about this. Our life is truly curious, in that even though we exist, separate from the quantum, our decisions do in fact resemble this notion, this notion of uncertainty. There are only 2 possibilities, dictated by an infinite number of probabilities. Schrodinger’s cat, bless its soul, alive and dead until the moment you open the box. Then, it becomes simple, a yes or no. Ed, you following me?”

He squeezed her hand. His hand, dry like bark, wrinkled from 4 decades of solitude, sagging from the bones, his life hurtling towards “no”. And her hand, tender, trembling, simply a faint violet whiff, a dead leaf echo of the energy she once was, threatening to fade away at the slightest caress of wind. 2 humans, each stuck in their own race towards the emptiness, yet connected by an answer. Not yes, not no.

“Now, I’d say that there is a third option. Not a possibility, not true or false, but simply always present. I call it a sort of… sort of quantum faith. Even in our lives, we exercise this quantum faith, alongside every single yes and no. This...this awareness of uncertainty, beset us for in every single circumstance for we are just a matter of yes or no’s, surrounded by infinite probabilities, an inherent contradiction, no? Well, I’d say it is this quantum faith that pushes us too, in the face of indifferent fate, that makes us say yes or no. This ever happened to you, Ed?”

The world faltered and stopped. Words, private moments broadcasted to people all over, as they witness the final resolution to a tragedy spanning 4 decades. The experimental Tunnel Shuttle, humankind’s first grasp towards an existence among quarks and gluons, to bend the will of Time. As cyclic, high power particle accelerators break the barrier of light, as the shuttle descends into states of superposition, as observation breaks down into afterimages, the passenger shall experience non-linear time, essentially time travel. A success followed by a malfunction, and what was calculated to be a matter of seconds spanned unexpectedly into 4 decades, before the shuttle slowly re-entered its native dimension.

No amount of nano-clones, no AI-integration, no cryo-suspension, nothing could save her. For her journey has reinstated her body into another sort of, “acquaintance”, with time, and like a fish out of water, it struggles, wavers in the new hostile environment.

Cameras, tearing eyes, hushed silence, stood beyond the hospital door. Yet, the room was a world of its own.

Quantum faith. That was all it took to explain his life. His answer to his question. That for a soulmate stuck in time, he consigned his life to an eternal matter of waiting, waiting for a “yes”, amidst the trillion probabilities, lying in the wake of a single answer.

“It was like raining. It was pretty. The light just kept raining on me, and I closed my eyes for a while, and then I saw you.” She gazed into his eyes, her eyes faded to myopic fish.

“You were always there with me. Thank you.”

She beamed, and left in a whisper.

About the Author: 
Tang is a student from Singapore, fascinated by quite about everything.