What if, in another universe, I deserve you?
Hear me out. There’s this philosopher from the 1890s named William James, and he coined this theory about “the multiverse” which suggests that a hypothetical set of multiple universes comprises everything that can possibly exist simultaneously.
Are you following? The entirety of space, time, matter and energy is all happening at once in different timelines: It’s the idea of parallel universes. Right? So okay, let’s presume the multiverse is real.
Well then, maybe somewhere in those infinite universes is one, or several, where I deserve you.
Maybe there’s a universe out there — happening now — where we end up together and when I close my eyes at night, I’m not dreaming the way a normal person would. Instead I’m seeing flashes of our lives in the multiverse. They’re not simple dreams because I miss you, right? They’re scientific, anachronistic visions.
In this universe, I don’t want a family, but maybe in another, I’m more of the type to settle down. Maybe there’s a universe where you hold my hand while I give birth to our daughter in a white hospital room with pink flowers and fuzzy teddy bears on the window sill. Where we take family vacations and pose for dorky pictures in our neon bathing suits on the sands of a Florida beach. Where we curl up to watch a cheesy movie at the end of a long day in our big, green, suburban house once the kids have fallen asleep.
Maybe there’s a universe where we are middle-aged and taking our child to college and bickering over where to put her dresser or what posters she should hang up. Where you kiss her on the forehead ‘goodbye’ and we drive home in contented, proud silence, your fingers grazing my knuckles, our wedding rings glistening. Where we both have gray hair and we laugh and smile and hug and drink lemonade on the porch.
Maybe there’s a universe where that’s the life I want. Where I don’t second guess everything and I’m not afraid of commitment and of the future and of love. Maybe there’s a universe without all the noise in my head and the pride that makes me so fiercely independent and the coldness in my heart that I can turn on and off like a security fence.
Maybe there’s a universe where I’m the right person for you. Where I adore every nice thing you did for me without starting to resent you. A universe where you actually end up with someone who appreciates you. Where no one becomes a doormat. Where both of us can shed our baggage and curiosity and issues. A universe where we’re happy — without wondering if that happiness is some messed-up Jenga game ready to topple at the slightest quiver. A universe where we’re comfortable and sure, and we have cats.
Maybe there’s a universe where we fall asleep next to each other every night like spoons, like two innocent bunnies — my face buried in your neck, hugging your warmth — and we both don’t want anything or anybody else. Where we don’t want more, we just want each other.
Maybe there’s a universe where I don’t covet so much all the time and where I’m content and where I don’t wonder about picking up and moving to Japan without saying anything to anyone and where at this very juncture, I can just know I’ll always want to come home and cook dinner with you.
If you think of it all this way, then it’s like neither of us did anything wrong.
You just found me in the wrong universe. That’s all. This is, as they say, the darkest timeline. Everywhere else, nay, “everywhen” else — us in the Civil War, us in Ancient Egypt, us in the swinging ’60s — we are happy.
If this theory holds, well, by the law of averages, there had to be one universe — just this one — where we don’t end up together. Here and now just happens to be it. If you think of it this way, nothing is our fault.
So see, that explains everything. We’re not together anymore because of the multiverse.
Well, isn’t that comforting?
If you’re sad, do like I do and just think of the other ‘verses. The ones where I believe in love and where I don’t hate myself and where I never feel the need to kamikaze relationships. A universe where we can have nice things. It’s helpful, right?
Because you could have loved me forever. And maybe in another universe, I let you."
This causes you much guilt and self-blame and sadness but above all, an overwhelming curiosity. Are you really that ugly, that unwanted, that uninteresting, that boring, that no one, absolutely no one, has ever looked at you like the only thing on earth?
The answer is no. The better answer is that someone out there, somewhere in the world, is “wondering what it’s like to meet someone like you,” and they have two decades worth of love stored in their veins like a shoot-‘em-up drug, and they’re just about ready to inject it into someone else’s bloodstream. All you have to do is roll up your sleeves and wait for it to happen.
At times you felt so lonely you could stand at the edge of a cliff with nothing beneath you but air and grass and a long, long way down, and you’d still feel emptier than that canyon itself. Maybe you even danced with yourself alone in your room a few times, arms outstretched around a ghost, pretending someone else’s hands were on your waist, someone else’s eyes boring into yours.
Or maybe you fell temporarily in love with strangers on public transportation, fell in love with anybody who so much as accidentally brushed your hand on the way past. For you, falling in love with dozens of people a day was a coping mechanism for not having anyone to love you in return. But people are not eggs and falling in love with a dozen of them does not mean your shell will remain uncracked. One day you’re going to hit the point where you’re so desperate for human contact that you’re going to snap in half and all your love will bleed out like egg yolk.
But someone out there is eating a bowl of Ramen noodles right now, or putting on slippers, or settling into bed. They are doing all the normal things that you’ve done in your own life. They are just like you. They have cellulite and extra fat in all the wrong places and goals and fears and doubts and bad handwriting.
The truth is that they are just like you, and being just like you, they’re looking for a lover too. They’re what you might call a soulmate.
They think they’re all alone in feeling the way they do, but you’re really both two halves of a whole.
And one day you’ll meet them, bump into them on the street, and your two halves will be put together, and you’ll make one."