—So, what are we looking at here?
—You tell me.
—It’s a . . . smudge, right?
—Charlie says it’s the soul.
—He also thinks gluons are guardian angels.
—That’s hard to disprove too.

We’ve seen it all—or most of it—in this lab, and none of it could we observe without the instruments. In other words, every day we press our noses against the ineffable.

—It moves.
—It’s been doing that all day.
—I’m not used to seeing anything move.
—Well, no, we look at dead things.

Not technically dead, I guess, not always. Ultrathin slices of cellular tissue have life in them you could say, but motion? No, that’s different.

—What’s your theory?
—Malfunctioning equipment.
—And if it isn’t?
—Flawed observation.
—And if it can be replicated?
—In other labs? By other observers?
—Yes. Yes.
—Mass hallucination.
—Are you sure you mean mass?
—Serial hallucination then.
—Induced by?
—By undue influence of prior results.
—But how do you explain the first results?
—Malfunctioning equipment.

This is our dialectic, at the lab and at home. The undisguised hectoring tone works better on the job and serves a scientific purpose. At home, it serves only his, as if he could convince me of anything.

—Have you tried rebooting the scanner?
—You’d rather it disappear than have to explain it?
—Very much so.

So would I. I don’t mind white shadows of anti-matter. In fact! Apply physics to love or love to physics for that matter. Lay out the case for the unresolved traumas of his narcissistic woundings if you like, but the soul? Certainty like that is unnerving. It’s why we’ve never married. He gives me room to live. Anything self-proving makes me dubious, but in doubt?—in doubt I find hope. Of course, that’s only a theory.

Copyright © June 11, 2008 David Hodges

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