Ever since I’ve started telling my friends that I’m stuck in a parallel universe, they’ve begun to act strangely in my presence. They giggle nervously, and scamper away to the opposite end of the couch. They turn up the volume on “Grey’s Anatomy” and their eyes plead with me to talk about anything else instead, anything at all, even Orlando Bloom’s hair. I don’t see what the big deal is, honestly – unwitting travel between parallel universes is the most logical explanation for the way I feel.
It was either Peter or Paul who said something along the lines of: we are all strangers here. Some more so than others, I would wager.
On holiday, a madwoman in a church fixed me with her dead-eyed stare and shouted: “Abomination!” (She may have been referring to my fuchsia overalls, but you never know.)
In the forest (yes, that forest) – beasties stalk me. I am not kidding. The last time I took my dog for a walk on that blasted trail, there were crashing sounds behind us, and the earth wobbled, and we ran away. Clearly, the beasties sense that I’m a bit of an alien.
An elderly Turkish shopkeeper in Germany once pointed a finger in my direction and said, “Go, stranger.”
A wind once swirled dead leaves around me, and brought them up like a tornado funnel, and tried to carry me away. And that’s not all of it, by far, and that doesn’t even account for the things that are happening with my own perception of this world:
Imagine living with the feeling that your surroundings are an enormous castle designed with the Bourbons in mind – a castle of secret passageways. All you need to do is press on the right angel in the bas-relief, and a door will open. Not just any old door – but a door to a place that you long for, and it’s a physical longing, like a craving for coffee or pickles. There is another world in close proximity to your world. It’s so close that if the worlds were dancing with each other in a middle school gym, enraged teachers would have pulled them apart a long time ago. And you can feel this other world, like someone’s bass thumping from another room. Worse than that, you miss it terribly, without knowing fully what it is you miss.
After they back away to a safe distance, my friends inevitably ask: “Well, if you are from a parallel universe, how come you don’t remember any of it? Nyah.” Elementary, my dear earthlings. Travel between parallel universes is, I imagine, quite bumpy, and you never know where you might land when you actually arrive. Obviously I fell in and thumped my head or my metaphysical shell, or else I was radiated in space, or else I caught a virus in the Void.
Amnesia. Don’t be fooled by the fact that amnesia is used to advance soap opera plots – it is quite real.
“Does being stuck in a parallel universe mean that the people you care about are alien to you?” – Is another question that get asked (I’m sort of like Orlando Bloom, in the sense that everyone asks me the same damn questions, only in his case, it’s all about whom he’s dating). Well, no, not at all. Back in my home universe, I am sure that I had the same father and mother, and even the same little brother. Perhaps the colour of my brother’s eyes was blue instead of hazel, or something.
Many of the divergences between the infinite parallel universes are subtle – it must be like staring at one of those features in a kids’ magazine: “Find 10 differences between these two nearly identical pictures.”
Nevertheless, something is off, and perhaps it always will be, unless I manage to find out what on earth (or, to be more precise, on this temporal plane) is actually going on.
I have my theories. Perhaps there is an inter-galactic war going on where I come from, and I am Moses, having floated into this universe in an escape-pod. Perhaps I was smuggled in and hidden, or else pursued across the Void. Perhaps I just wandered in and got lost somehow, attracted by flashing neon, or else the shiny golden cupolas of Orthodox churches. And now I’m bloody stuck.
“What are the logistics of traveling between paralell universes?” You got me. Sometimes I feel as though I was dropped in straight into my mother’s womb, left to gestate and brave the new world all on my own. I may not have even been transferred corporeally, only in spirit. Or I may have taken over my body at a later date – as a toddler, perhaps, when I first began to experience disassociation from my surroundings, reveling in their unexpected strangeness. Travel between parallel universes is, most likely, not linear. The concept is well-represented in the realm of the postmodern novel – without the chorus of academic oohs and aaahs in the background.
Above all else, the fabric of space, time, and the Void that lies both outside and inside space and time – it seems that they could all very well be made of swiss cheese. And while you may never know if and when you’ll go crashing through a hole in the continuum again (or whether the continuum even exists, considering the ever-pervasive notion of chaos), it is comforting to know that hey, at least you’re not completely nuts.