String Theory and Stardust

Cowritten in collaboration with Melissa

Fate is nothing if not unpredictable.

Chaos is the stable ground beneath your feet.

I don’t know what I expected. We coexisted in two-dimensional space, across miles in words with no depth or volume, living the memories of other people’s stories. But we exist in a three-dimensional world. Even those things which we refer to as two-sided imply a depth we often overlook. When we share space, we balance the third edge of a coin, the narrow ridge we walk between dissimilar and synonymous.

You poor child, thinking you could plan around Chaos. Did you not know that their embers strike silently? They are not the loud clatter of falling glass, as your simple philosophers have said. Chaos is the breath on your skin, so gentle you’d mistake it for a breeze. They are the scraping nails on your doorframe you could mistake for the wanderings of tree branches. Chaos is not the storm you see for miles, nailing plywood to your windows. They are the thunder in the night that blends seamlessly into the voices living in your dreams. They do not wake you – they lull you, live under your skin, until it is too late to deny the rage around you.

Like so much of the broken down, ill-fit lives of misfits and mishaps, Fate is a cigarette, ill-advised but much needed. Through the smoky haze and staccato tempo of mid-conversations exhale, the immediate forging of resonance solidifies. Fraternal twins. They would be chaos if they allowed more space for bullshit.

From an anonymous, divided womb, we were born, stretching our hands to different sides of the stars. We curled around you: chaos stretching and omnipresent. Myself: rigid and omniscient. Chaos, my quiet, booming twin. They sank their teeth into the marrow of your bones and gasped for the pain of it, transmuting your cries into joy.

What can we know about Fate, about its nature and shape, about its echoing whispers and embodied form? That Fate is not linear. In the age-old arguments of predetermination and free will, quantum physics forces us to allow for the opportunity of random chance. In front of me, I see the synthesis of all three, impossibly held in juxtaposition, knit behind the stardust of human skin.

I watched Chaos bloom, you see, from the tangle of strings and cores of apples, resting in naked hands. It was a simple thing, once. From my iron chair, beneath the mountain, I sat spinning at my wheel, waiting for that creature to come calling, the lovely star dust pushing life to exist with a silent, vacuumed bang.

There is a degree to which this was planned and yet, an inevitability that this would have always come to pass. We flit around the edges of one another’s lives until we are pulled into the swirling tug of galaxies colliding, a double helix of stars held together in the threshold of the event horizons. What do we build with these interlocking strands held in perfect equilibrium? Perhaps these are the molecular building blocks of god, a piece in a puzzle so macroscopic, we can only fathom our small worlds existing in the space of cigarettes and laughter.

I knew they would come; for all that I failed to predict their many forms and shifting faces. How could I not? My dark, illuminated, all-predicting home knew the inevitability of entropy would come. I knew how they would call to you, in a voice that sounds like home and razor blades. I knew you would beg for them to cut your veins with all their love and destruction. I felt their smoke in my throat, and knew it would burn in yours.

Fate is unpredictable. I could not have anticipated such genuine joy, but there it lives, on the surface of the skin, in quivering eyelids and mischievous lips. That is to say, not joy in the absence of sorrow, but the kind of joy that can only be known by plumbing equal depths of despair. What is presented is real and true, and yet, who can learn every face carried in the hands of Fate? An enigma of hope and destruction, living on liquid movement in the moments the world balances on the precipice of stillness. Fate comes to dawn from the side of darkness, one face watching the crepuscular descent, the other spinning to watch the morning stretch and wake, and holds the line taut between them. Not the two-faced gods of Janus, but the multifaceted edge of a stone cut ad infinitum, a plethora of open doors, a radical vulnerability we are often too self-centered to see.

I watched their foreplay, kisses along your jaw that smelt like chamomile and cloves and burning hair. They brushed your cheek so gently; you mistook it for a caress. If I carefully laid the stone you would trip on along your path… You would have to forgive me. To watch the tangle and roar fall upon you is so sweet. The way your breath comes so sharply, as they nipped your neck, your heels? You are a picture, more beautiful for the hand of dismay. Chaos made you a canvas, never realizing that when their form shifted, you changed to meet them, desperate for their touch. Why do you plan your destruction? Do you see, as I do, how glorious and eternal it will be?

Believe what you are shown, even knowing that your image will always be incomplete. All collisions can be mathematically understood with the physics of motion and energy and reason. You do not have to comprehend the greater pattern echoed in the refrains of, “Why?”; you only have to understand that the pattern exists, and Fortuna has stepped free from a card and lives in the smoking skin of a tempestuous heart.

Stars and galaxies, ants and men, they flow in the patterns of the nautilus, captured inexplicably in its shell. Chaos claims to be a destroyer, my darling, but know this: they are the wildfire that clears out the deadwood; they are the flood that brings the promise of life to old fields. To hone them down simply and define them by your struggles would be so very…limited. You cannot trap what gives the world life. You cannot confine them to words, for all you feel stronger for it.

Sometimes, purpose is only clear in retrospect, but resonance is not an accident of random chance. I have looked into the eyes of kin and found the echoes of soulstorms on which I have nurtured my spirit raging behind their smile. I have walked into the home of Fate and found myself no stranger there.

So succumb, dear one – cease to fit them in a box. You will only see their patterns on your death bed, curled with me in loving embrace, and you will long for the breath Chaos gave you. You cannot leave us. We built your world, siblings in hand. Calm your heart beat – there are no choices here that would not please one of us.

Fate is, not in relation to, but in singular existence. We center ourselves as a baseline and recognize connection from the context of our experience, but it does not negate that Fate is an entity in and of itself. A storm rages independent of us; we gauge its impact in the context of ourselves. What might someone else see? I cannot hope to know, for all vision is imperfect, but I know simultaneously that there is more than meets the eye and yet, they are exactly who they present themselves to be.

Let me lend you my eyes, dear one: for all Chaos may destroy, they create, and your skin craves their touch. For all they may feel that they are unfathomable, you have known them all your life. They are the home you have been running from. They are the song you cannot help but sing.

[Crossposted on Fetlife here and here]

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