In another universe I am not the one writing this. In another universe I am still who I am, but wholly different–the personification of another facet of myself. In another universe I am the same man but different, a secondary, tertiary–an nth degree version of myself wholly unknown yet wholly undifferentiated.
That’s a good way of saying it.
Where all these universes meet–a place in time or space, removed from either or both–there is an integral self that exists beyond all possibilities.
The act of reality forming from thought differentiates these forms, causing universal constants to slip behind subliminal ideals, each variable taking upon itself a new manifestation based upon those factors that surround it.
Today I feel undifferentiated. It’s an integral part of my identity.
In another universe I discovered not writing, but art. Instead of abandoning my doodling for the precision of words, I took to drawing with paramount skill. I stumbled upon Photoshop–possibly illegally, I cannot say–instead of the free alternatives I use here, and there I allowed my passion for design to grow.
In college I dabbled in interior decorating, but my interests coalesced into a lavish graphic design program. I interned with local businesses on a rebranding project and decided to take a minor in marketing. After graduation I got a job with a national nonprofit designing media. My work was hailed as critical in the acquisition of marriage equality in three states and adoption rights in four others.
After more than a dozen years in the business of nonprofit, I settled down and took to illustrating children’s books, even venturing to write a few of my own. I dabbled in a few young adult novels, but the burgeoning mythology inside me became nothing more than a pastime as I took to drawing the various gods and goddesses I imagined. Eventually I’d have an open gallery dedicated to each of them, but their story remained untold.
I died at 73, peacefully slipping away in my sleep.
In another universe I took physics first and my senior interests became invested not in understanding the world around me, but the world inside me–a simple course in biology made me want to take a second course in biology. I entered college not knowing precisely what I wanted to do, but after a bout of undergraduate research, I pursued my Ph.D and entered the realm of professional research.
Although I did not receive the Nobel Prize myself, my work in stem cells contributed to the work of those who did. I was not resentful, however, since I had seen the fruit of my work branching off into possible cures for diseases like diabetes and a dozen others. Throughout my career I pursued various committee and board positions alongside my research, assisting in the creation of policy that furthered the health of our nation.
In my mid thirties I met a man and we wished to have children–children biologically fathered by both of us. With my background in stem cells, which had always been focused upon the embryonic variety, I was able to gain grants and research partners to investigate possible ways of making this dream a reality. After eleven tedious years of research, we were able to move forward with a full-scale trial.
Our first child matured into adulthood and became an honor student, hailed worldwide as a scientific miracle, but was killed in a car accident. Our research continued.
In another universe there was a break-in. I was shot at seventeen.
In another universe I took the advice I’d been given and pursued a degree in history and followed it as such with an MFA in creative writing. I became a little-known local author for many years, writing mysteries and science-fiction thrillers, but only achieved critical acclaim when I began writing an advice column for a state newspaper. The column was syndicated nationally and I was even offered a TV spot, but kindly declined. I preferred working behind a screen, not on the other side of it.
Keeping mostly to myself, I never married.
In another universe I ditched mathematics altogether and ran full-force into politics. I took an internship after graduation, pursued a master’s degree in public administration, and then ran for local office. After serving ten years in the state senate, I ran for federal office–and lost. I took two more years to build a base, connecting with my intended constituents, and then ran again to win.
I held this office for twelve years, passing laws to reform our nation’s welfare program and to promote a stronger public education system that not only provided a higher quality product but was also more efficient and lower in cost. I was asked to be the presidential candidate’s running mate, and agreeing largely with her platform, we joined forces. We won the popular vote, and thanks to electoral college reformation, we won the race.
After serving two terms as vice president, I ran a successful campaign for presidency in the following election. Unfortunately, after two years, I was assassinated.
In another universe I could not tell you my childhood or my friends or my family, but in another universe I could tell you my ambitions, my passions, my accomplishments–the whole of my life and my death.
It’s a simple feat, staring across these primordial strings into unknown realms and witnessing creation occurring alongside and far ahead our own universe. It’s an easy sight–simply it’s all my own imaginings, the things I foresee in my own future, the things I foresee if I adjust my past accordingly.
I sometimes–no, I often–wonder how it might be if for just a moment I could meet myself, if for a moment we could clasp hands and let flow between us all the things we know–how much more effective a leader, a student, a man I would be if this were so! The knowledge of a dozen universes in an instant I would know.
In another universe, my life is ordered. Complete.
In this universe, I can detail my past and elaborate my present, but ask me of my future and suddenly the slate is blank. I can enunciate my current plans, my present engagements, the many and myriad ways my attention is torn and toggled, but ask me of tomorrow, and my tongue is tied.
In this universe I haven’t a clue where I’m headed. I can speak ages of my visions and my passions, but when they fall in place together, it’s a conglomerate mess, muddled and confused. I lack a plan longer than my outstretched arm, any order past the clutter strewn across my desk.
In this universe I can discern neither my future nor my fate.
It’s a dismal universe to live in.