And the Universe takes what it wants and is unforgiving and beautiful.
Kafka has taken her spot on the higher perch. She rises as high as she can go within the cage, and it is just enough. There is no longer a need to fly; the view from the swinging dowel suspended by taut, hard wires is enough. From up here, with its limited and easy view, she can rest easy and know that all her hard work and calculations are justified…glorified.
And from one perch below, Linaeus, sits quietly and admires her strength and understanding of a universe gone mad.
Together, they have toiled. Together, they have unraveled the secrets of dark matter and particle acceleration. They have bickered and squabbled, plucked feathers from each others backs. In the quiet, just before the rise of the sun of the new day after mathematical work and welding, they have leaned deep into one another and cooed and keened when all hope seemed lost. Their work, as important as it may have seemed, would always take a backseat to their silly love for one another. They could have never broken thru the barriers of time and space alone, without the other. Kafka, the unbending idealist intellect and reasoning, emotional leader, needed Lineaus, the scientist, the empiricist, and data collector and unbreakable lover, of her and their work.
Truth be told, Linaeus didn’t give a shit about time travel and intersecting planes; and here being now, and then being when. It all seemed such nonsense. But he went along with the math and build because this is what true lovers do. It was all fun and games, “Love of science, science for love.” It all made her happy and smile and satisfied, and isn’t that enough? Shouldn’t that be enough?
The bad news came on Thursday. After blood tests and x-rays, it was determined that she was terminal. She took the diagnosis well, squawked a bit, and settled in to her new, discovered fate. What other recourse did she have? Kafka knew all along that work on such a grand scale would take its toll. You can’t nudge stars without repercussions. She isn’t ready to go, but her work has reassured her that this isn’t the end.
Linaeus takes the news of Kafka’s fate quite hard. They spend their first night apart and he sets about rearranging the trinkets and papers of their cage, not so much to suit his needs or desires, but more to throw everything into upheaval and chaos. A simple day apart is enough to drive him to madness and self destruction. After the petulant melee has passed, he sits and waits for her return. Each time a door opens outside their cage, he perks up and waits for her to be gently handed back to him through the soft bars that keep them safe. But she doesn’t return for one whole day.
And when she does return, everything is different and nothing will ever be the same. Together, Kafka and Linaeus have broken through and mastered time, and now time is their enemy. Together, they worked to cross through it, at will; and now they only want to turn it back.
Linaeus - “Volim te.”
Kafka - “I know my love, and I love you.”
Linaeus - “Was it the experiments? Was it the late nights, chemicals and electricity? Was it our reckless pursuit of higher learning? Was it just dumb fucking luck? Because I’ll be damned, I want fucking answers.”
Linaeus is now sitting next to Kafka on the higher perch. Gently, they rub their useless wings against one another and dream of flying.
Kafka - “I will love you forever, and if that doesn’t last, than nothing will.”
Linaeus - “How much time do we have?”
Kafka - “All the time in the universe, my love. We already figured it out. Keep our beautiful machine running. And I will find you again. We have so much more to figure out.”
Linaeus leans deep into Kafka, buries his tiny, heavy head, in the comfort of the silky soft feathers of her shoulder. And Kafka, with the strength of newly formed star, holds him strong and within her gravity and universe pull. And as she holds strong and steady, she catches a glimpse of herself, and him, in the cheap plastic and foil mirror that was placed there in their cage, for their amusement when the calculations and heavy work seemed to much and all for naught. Kafka muses, “How easily we can be distracted? Look my love, that’s us, refracted by light and time. Silly us. Love me.”