The arrow of time is “irreversible”—time goes forward. This doesn’t seem to follow the laws of physics which work the same going forward or backward in time. Some physicists argue that there is a more fundamental quantum source for the arrow of time.
The day was finally here. Gary gazed out the window toward the launch site. The floors below were filled with spectators watching with bated breaths. But Gary was alone, with floor to ceiling windows offering a panoramic view of the landscape, and the glass roof offering the most spectacular view of all. Here he would see his life’s work reach a pinnacle moment. No distractions, except for the greatest distraction of all - his own mind.
His mind began to wander in the silence. At first, he reflected on the last several years, gradually searching his memory in reverse, recalling the key moments that led to this epic juncture in history. He was revelling in the story of his own journey to success and fame, until the inevitable happened; his mind wandered too far back and suddenly she was there before his mind’s eye.
Gary knew he would not be here now if wasn’t for Marissa. Things used to be so simple. He was nobody, a man without purpose or ambition, just a geek and a loser. Now everyone in the world knew his name, but no-one knew hers.
He was nineteen when he met her, or more accurately, when he found her. It was one of those rare times in his youth, that Gary felt a sudden urge to go for a walk. Most nights he spent in front of his computer, playing games, trolling the internet and talking shit with the few “friends” in his life; all people he had never met in person. But whilst the computer was busy downloading a dozen movies and an unnecessarily large quantity of porn, he decided to visit the shop and restock his red bull supply.
Taking a shortcut down an alley, Gary found her laying on the ground, asleep and blocking his way. She was dressed in very little, and what little clothing he could see was golden. Upon closer inspection he realised she was in fancy dress, seemingly as an Egyptian princess. Uncertain of what he should do, he simply said “Hello?”
He tried this approach a few times, but she would not be woken so easily. When even shaking her failed to rouse her, he made the first impulsive decision of his life. He picked her up and carried her home.
When Marissa awoke the following morning, she had only vague memories of the previous night; a party, feeling unwell, leaving and then feeling suddenly tired. Later, she realised that someone had spiked her drink and Gary had saved her from god-knows-what happening. But at that moment she was in a strange bed, in a strange place, with a stranger asleep at a computer desk, snoring softly.
Gary smiled to himself now, recalling that fated morning. Marissa was unlike any other girl. Most girls would just run away, but Marissa gently woke him with the most beautiful of smiles. Plus, a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich!
After waking and ascertaining that she was unharmed, Marissa determined from her fractured memory that the sleeping boy must have taken care of her, as he clearly hadn’t taken advantage of her. Therefore, she decided that to thank him would require more than words alone.
They breakfasted together and connected immediately. Gary was her unexpected hero, and Marissa was so full of life and laughter that he could not resist falling for her. They spent the next six years, four months and nineteen days together, happy as two people trapped in a fairy-tale of their own creation. Through her guidance, Gary learnt the social skills he had always lacked, and with her unwavering encouragement began to apply himself academically, showing an aptitude for physics.
The puzzles of the universe fascinated him. Those few key barriers which prevented mankind from advancing. Finding Dark Matter. Understanding Gravity. Or his favourite - unravelling the mysteries of Superconductors.
Then one innocuous evening, Marissa gave him the key he had been missing for years;
“Maybe they can’t be solved alone? Maybe they need to be solved together?”
The thought struck Gary like a lightning bolt. Gravity and Superconductors were connected!
Why were superconductors so efficient? The assumption was that once cooled to absolute zero, the molecules were inert and thus offered no resistance. But now Gary realised there was more involved than the lack of thermal energy exciting the particles. This state allowed gravity more influence over the individual molecules, causing them to settle into uniform patterns and creating “conductive highways” throughout the material.
He began to experiment, spending long hours at work. Marissa almost fading to an afterthought with his obsession. But she understood and continued to support him regardless, for she loved him.
After just a year, he had proved his theory.
The revelation made him famous; but he wasn’t finished. This breakthrough led to greater discoveries, the most significant being the perpetual motion engine. Using superconductive material to create engines which produced energy, whilst utilising some of this energy to maintain the superconductive state of the material. It was revolutionary. Finally, the world had the ability to create clean unlimited energy.
Now here he sat, about to witness the greatest achievement of this wonderous technology. The perpetual engine space craft. Capable of flying forever in theory. But Marissa was not here now. She who gave him purpose. She who never failed to push him to his full potential. She who died alone as he claimed his Nobel prize.
Whilst Gary grew in success, fuel by her love and belief, Marissa slowly faded away, taken by cancer. Then suddenly she was gone, whilst he was applauded. He should have been there with her and she deserved be here now - sharing this moment of achievement with him.
The probe was already disappearing into the sky when Gary broke his revelry. The past had distracted him and stolen his moment. The view was wasted, and the victory now felt hollow. Humanity’s greatest moment. But thinking of her, he wondered; was it worth it?