Spineless Books.

Letter to Lamont (excerpt): Life of an Electron



Everyone talks about the Bang as if it were a great party that got a little out of control. I remember the time before. What I remember is that I was not me, I was all matter and so was everybody else and the burning unity, the singularly hot and dense intimacy, was a far better universe to me than the slow astronomical ballet we are playing out now, stretched for millennia as imperceptibly thinning dust. You are about to give me advice: maybe I should join a star. I assure you, it is not the same. Being a star seems nice and warm, really bright and industrious, until you grow cold and collapse. Then when the gravity is so strong not even light can escape, the other particles start to get really irritating. Before the Bang: that was different. That was before I was an electron. As soon as someone decided they were a separate particle and tried to leave everything just blew up and now there is time: awful dull slow time. During the expansion I did what every electron did. I got a hydrogen molecule together in the hopes that we would someday undergo fusion and become a heavier, more stable molecule. We tried to bond with other particles but strangely I find myself continually repelled by other electrons. We drifted for awhile and got a gig in a dust cloud orbiting itself. We picked up enough matter that we collapsed and formed a solar system. Yeah, every electron's dream, I know, but it took forever. We just kept on accelerating and accelerating but it never felt like we were moving. I was lucky enough to get involved in a planet and we lived it up. I was heavily into methane and was in more than one lightningbolt. Then one night a bunch of us formed unicellular lifeforms. We didn't know what we were doing. About this time I really started wishing I could get off the planet. No luck. I spent a lot of time in plants and animals which were getting larger and more complex every millennia. It wasn't that great. At least in the unicellular lifeforms everyone knew each other. We'd be plankton, get absorbed by a whale, beach, be assimilated by carrion, then a bug, then some bird would ingest us and so on. I was even involved with a—you guessed it—human. Wait, here's the ironic part. This human was selected somehow by its species, I'll never understand why, for a special project. They put it in a special container and shot it into space. Now I sit by a tiny round window watching my planet, my host, my body, pirouette slowly across a gulf of emptiness as I write my memoirs. I am nostalgic for that time before the Bang. I look at the other electrons in my molecule (I am in Oxygen now. I know. Thanks.) whom I will never meet. And I look at the other molecules in my cell. I look at the other cells in my body and down below or up above are the other bodies in my species, the other species in my ecosystem, the other ecosystems on my planet, the other planets, the other planetary systems... See? I long for a time when there was no plurality, only a singularity. Maybe it will happen again someday.

Letter to Lamont

here > there


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