Author: Don Nigroni
I was an orphan, never adopted, perhaps because I wasn’t ever cute or special in any way. But, when I was nineteen, I was fortunate enough to become a live-in housekeeper to Professor David Knežević. He was a polymath, most renowned for the Knežević equation.
That was over ten years ago. Martha, his wife, had died six years before I arrived and I knew he was still haunted by her death. When someone mentioned her, a cloud descended over his normally calm facial expression. Regardless, my main job was to never ever erase his blackboard.
I called him Uncle Dave and he never objected. He was the closest thing I ever had to family. A year before he passed away, he had confided in me that, since he was getting up there in years, he wanted to keep a promise made to his wife that they’d be reunited after he died.
He told me, “The lack of everything, namely, nothing, can’t produce something yet things do exist. But if there was always something in time then getting to yesterday would take forever. There could never be today.
Hence, there has to be something eternal, without beginning or end, outside of time that’s responsible for something existing in time. And the language of that creative principle is mathematics.
But, to unlock the secrets of the transcendental formula, you have to know the quotient of the highest number divided by the smallest number greater than zero. In other words, what infinity divided by infinitesimal equals.”
Less than a month before my uncle passed away, I walked into his study when he was scribbling on his blackboard. As he continued writing, he told me, “The original copy of the transcendental formula subsists in the noosphere. It’s accessible to the demiurge who inserts various values for different variables into the formula in order to create numerous alternative realities. Unlike the creative principle outside time, the demiurge is a personal god within time who makes the amorphous primary something into specific things in many distinct worlds.”
Then he replaced a symbol with Ω in a certain bracketed section of the transcendental formula on his blackboard and some of the chalk transformed into the English words, “What do you want?”
My uncle could see the horror in my eyes and said, “Fear not. The demiurge means us no harm.”
He wrote on the blackboard, “To be reunited with my wife after I die.”
Whereupon what he had written was rearranged to read, “Only if you keep my secrets.”
He then ordered me to erase and clean his blackboard every day thereafter. And, after he passed away, I learned he left his house to me and realized he had destroyed all his mathematical papers before he died.
Even if I could have, though I surely couldn’t have, duplicated his feat, I wouldn’t have. I hope he’s somewhere nice with his beloved Martha but, personally, I prefer to have a more prosaic finale. I’m perfectly fine with ending up wherever the demiurge deems appropriate.
But, you see, I have no one waiting for me.