To Elspeth, From Another Universe

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To Elspeth,

I doubt you remember my drunken explanation to you, some years ago, of Schrodinger’s Cat, parallel universes and how, at every decision, every possible outcome happens and the world forks and splits, all outcomes thus beginning to exist in their own realities, and realities forking out from them, ad infinitum. Also, how’s your Dad, before I forget?

I doubt you recall my explanation that, at the toss of a shiny pound coin, it may land heads, or may land tails, but both versions of those outcomes, as separate universes, exist somewhere. The one where it landed heads in your hand, and the one where it landed tails. A version also exists where you dropped the coin. Another where the coin didn’t land at all, for some reason or other, but kept moving upwards and left the Earth’s atmosphere at a startling speed and smashed through years of work on the International space station, which just happened to be orbiting Earth directly above Glasgow at that moment (assuming you still live in Glasgow). There is another version where King Charles is on that pound coin, and so on. If this hasn’t rung any bells by now, you certainly don’t remember, but that’s kind of besides the point. There is a version of the world where you still love me; that’s what I’m writing about (though I do genuinely want to know how your Dad is).

There is a version where I learned to play the violin and, with you at the piano (you learned the piano), we mastered Arvo Pärt’s ‘Spiegel Im Spiegel’ to such moving effect that, on playing it, we could reduce hardened men to tears. There is a version where we own a flying horse and ride on it together, high above the world’s oldest cities. The main point is that there is a version of the world where you still love me. There is a version of the world where I still love you, and have hope for us, and luckily, I am in that version of the world, and that is where I write to you from today. Through my studies and research, I have perfected the art of inter-universe travel and can conclude that if you want to cross from your tangent universe, you now can. You can leave that world of unsatisfactory sex with an olive-skinned fresher from France, staring into space on Sundays when you haven’t started your essay, missing my omelettes and wondering, in a few years time, what might have happened if we’d stayed together. You can leave behind a world where listening to Astral Weeks from beginning to end makes you sad, and instead appear in a universe where Astral Weeks is once again enjoyed as we both read paperbacks and drink cups of tea until it is time to go out to the cinema. A universe where we amble to the movies on Autumn days, kicking gold and brown leaves, your red scarf wrapped tightly around your neck and my long leather coat making me look like a computer hacker (although not as cool as Will Smith in The Matrix).

Travelling from your universe to mine is a curious scientific process, but a simple one nonetheless. The first step is to acquire the following items; a microcomputer (assuming you have these in your world) or application-enabled mobile phone handset, an IP connection, access to a specific server and a valid access card with a long series of numbers across the middle and a three digit number on the back. The second step is to buy a train ticket with those things, from Glasgow (again, assumptive) to me. I have arranged for the train to pass through time and space and bring you to me.

On your arrival, we will get noodles at Fuji Hiro like we used to, hopefully it will rain outside and it’ll be romantic, and you can tell me the strange tales of life in the other universe. If I don’t hear from you, I can only assume that the train has mistakenly taken you to one of the millions of other universes, and I hope you did not end up in the one you are travelling from. In that universe, you are a shallow cow that cheated on me with an olive-skinned fresher from France, broke my heart and left me alone, watching sci-fi, wanking over anyone I can find on amateur porn sites who slightly resembles you, and eating Pot Noodles.



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