They are in the stars.
"We are going to say that it is possible that the vital energy of the grandmother has not disappeared. That it has gone up or down, or that it has dispersed in a way that we don't yet understand. Maybe at this moment it is becoming another kind of energy."
That was Sergio's explanation to his ten-year-old son, in the presence of the child's grief at the death of his grandmother. He knew the infant's feelings. He had lost a source of unconditional love. He himself had gone through a similar moment.
The child took his father's hand, accepting the explanation.
The mother looked at him sympathetically. A faint smile tugged at the corners of her lips.
"What do you think, Mommy?
"I think your grandmother is becoming a star right now. Someday you'll know which of the lights in the firmament she is."
Sergio and Amalia, he, a physicist, she, a poet, were always trying to answer with sincerity the continuous questions of Samuel, who from a very young age had shown signs of unusual intelligence.
Sami went from being an inquisitive child to a student at the same prestigious university where his father taught quantum physics. His childlike curiosity about the world had developed into a quality that in science can be very rewarding.
At his university Sam attended a conference where his father shared the stage with a Nobel laureate in physics. The students listened in amazement to the discussion.
The guest physicist raised the possibility that a box containing a capsule of toxic gas could also contain a cat. There is a possibility that the capsule could explode. There is also a chance that it will not. The paradox that arises is uncertainty. After a while the cat may be alive or dead, since it is not possible for it to be alive and dead at the same time. Or... is it possible to think differently?
As he listened to the speakers, Sam remembered his grandmother. He imagined her as a force in continuous modification, striving to return to heaven. He attended his grandmother's funeral, but thought of her as fluctuating in a reality in which she was both dead and alive, moving between the boundaries of two realities. The two realities known to all: life and death.
A murmur of admiration from the audience brought him out of his thoughts. He caught up to hear the keynote speaker say:
"What we want to do is to study how quantum features are lost as time passes."
A soft but very long applause rewarded the scientist's presentation. Sam joined in the applause as he felt a sudden urge to return to where he had his computer. In his mind he replayed the speaker's final words. "What we want to do is study how quantum features are lost as time passes." To say next... "and what they become."
In the evening, when his mother went to wish him goodnight she found him sitting in front of the window. He was gazing, absorbed, at the stars. His face had a gravity that Amalia did not know.
With a look in his eyes, a funny grimace and a smile, his mother asked him, without words, how he felt.
"Remember when you told me Grandma would become a star?"
Amalia didn't answer, just dragged a chair over and sat down next to her.
Is there a problem, Sam?
No. Well... yes! A big theoretical problem. I don't want to discuss it with Dad yet. I can tell you.
Sam began to tell how the idea of alternate realities haunted him, how his grandmother had woken him up a few times in the wee hours of the morning in the middle of a repeated dream, just as he was looking at himself writing down a formula. It was an equation explaining the trajectories of small amounts of energy. Mom, I think I have made a great discovery! I have begun to scientifically substantiate something that has always been said. I think I can prove that our ancestors' energy went back to the stars.
Sam continued talking, his mother listening without interrupting him. She was accustomed to scientific language and learned that she didn't have to understand everything in depth. It was enough for her to feel the passion for the objects of study, that sparkle in the eyes, that form of sensitivity that turned scientists into a kind of cryptic poets, misunderstood most of the time.
He knew that his son, loved, indulged and protected throughout his growth, might be in for a fierce struggle as he postulated a new way of looking at the stars. It's not easy to change people's thinking. But she was sure she would see him succeed, her husband had assured her.
As Sam explained to her how the energy ascended in space, she imagined herself at the moment when her own energy would transform, merging with her ancestors, forming a ball of light that would then send its rays out into infinity, seeking the direction of the window of the room where her son slept, to illuminate it with its eternal light.
A feeling of peace and happiness filled her chest.
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