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There is nothing behind me, and nothing above me. All the same, I know what I will see if I am to tip my head skywards. The stucco ceiling of the room that housed my crib, and now my desk and cot. It is a simple room. Empty, in a sense of the word. Four walls that my father painted white. But right now, there is only a screen. Those walls do not exist outside of my field of vision. All that exists is what I am looking upon in the present moment. And I am only ever looking upon a precious section of the universe at a time. It frightens me, to think that there may be nothing else. It also bestows a God-like sense of superiority, to think that I am the creator of everything I see. Yes, I remember putting that desk there. Yes, I remember pushing that cot up against the wall. But it may as well be on another planet right now.
I swivel around in my chair. There is the south wall of my room, the one that faces the lake. But there is no lake without a window to look upon it. My universe is self-made and fleeting, changing all the time. I don’t fully understand it, but it makes my surroundings feel dynamic. Then again, they are always the same. No matter where I look, I know what I will see until I am plunked in foreign surroundings. Maybe a change is all I need. I’ve been studying quantum theory for too long.
My mother is a scientist; that is where the fascination stems from. The questioning of everything that is or may be. I don’t know the difference anymore. There are some certainties in my life; there is the certainty that I am matter, and that the chair which I perch upon is matter, and that the house which stands around me is matter. And all that matter will return to individual atoms eventually, and all of those individual atoms will create something much like this again. I wonder when that time will come? I don’t know if I care very much for the universe I ended up in. Somewhere else, I know that I am bathing in warm white waters, like milk boiling in a saucer. I know that my brain has developed in such a way to forbid anxiety from permeating, and that my limbs are not superhuman, but strong in the same way that spiderwebs are compared to steel. Somewhere I am not this person, fretting over my own existence and the existence of everything around me. Do they call this an existential crisis? I don’t know. All the same, I want to not exist for awhile. I suppose I don’t exist, to anyone who’s not looking upon me. They can hear me up here, clattering away at my keyboard. But unless they are gazing upon me with their own two eyes, they can’t know for sure whether I exist or not.
My own thoughts are sowing panic inside of me. My attempts to shed them are in vain as I quit the confines of my room and wander into the backyard. There is my dog. How many countless atoms have congregated in such a way that he stands before me? I overthink everything. It could be simple, if I hadn’t had the upbringing I did. I kneel down before him and scratch him under the chin, between the eyes. Right now, I exist in his universe and he in mine. Of course, there is always the chilling notion that my world and everyone in it is an elaborate hallucination. There are no such things as human beings, there never were. There were no wars or genocides or great leaders. All a fabricated history. And every humiliating and breathtaking and traumatizing event in my life was just a sensory experience to add depth to my story.
In my elaborate hallucination, Caesar whines. When I blink, his wet chocolate eyes flood back into focus. I pet him twice as long as I usually would before I return inside. I don’t realize that my mother is within my field of vision until I’m well within the room. She is agitated, like she usually is when she gets home from the college. Her hair is piled on top of her head and her glasses sit precariously on the end of her nose.
“Hi mom.”
“Oh! Hi sweetie,” she exhales sharply and adjusts her glasses. “I thought you’d gone out.”
“No, I’m working on that paper, remember.”
“Oh right.” She snaps her fingers. “The one about quantum theory. How’s that going?”
I frown. “It’s not easy.”
She nods. “I hear you there. What do you have so far?”
“A lot about multiverse theories, so far. D’you think that’s a possibility?”
 “Sure, why not.” My mother, accepting the possibility of alternate dimensions with an apathetic shrug. “Don’t you think so?”
“I don’t know,” I admit. “It seems kind of self-centred to believe that ours is the only universe. I know that time would work differently there -
“And not just in other universes!” my mother intercepts. “In space!”
“I already know that.”
“Oh, of course. Sorry, I forget you’re all grown up now.” Since she’s back in maternal mode, I excuse myself and return to my room. It’s darker than I left it; the setting sun has deepened all the shadows into pitch. I know that my wall is not actually that colour, though. I know that my comforter is not pink and that my lampshade is not blue. Humans just needed a way of identifying the perceived shades that result from light interacting with different surfaces. It’s all too complicated. I flop back on my bed, gazing up at that stucco ceiling that used to require no explanation whatsoever. The guy who built my room put it there. That was the short answer. The long one? I close my eyes.

About the Author: 
My name is Jennifer Gossoo. I am a 22-year old student living in western BC. I am intrigued by quantum theory and the concept of multiverses, but also like to dabble in art and French!