"Dr. McNeil, come in, are you there?"
"Your oxygen gauge tells us you're barely breathing. Dr. McNeil?"
"I'm not alright and our calculations weren't either"
"Dr, turn on the neutron thruster now!"
"You only recommend that because you guys don't..."
"Dr. This is General Defoe. Can you hear us? Stick to established protocols now. That's an order. Humanity depends on it."
"You couldn't stop the war. Much less can you stop the force with which I am being sucked into this black hole. I fade away..."
This feeling of lightness is like floating in the ocean, except that here there is no sunlight toasting my skin.
A lifetime of researching and studying this phenomenon and still, I found myself overtaken by the Universe. It will always be like this for mankind.
This light. I can't believe it. This tingling. My body rematerializes before my eyes. I feel agile, dynamic, perhaps as alive as on Earth.
"Incredible! Yes, so was the concert."
I can't believe it. I am at home again. That door, this room, that young man!
"Haha, ok, I'll call you later to tell you more details about Paramore. Bye!"
"You, boy, who are you?"
"Wow, man, are you from the concert or what?"
"No, I'm a NASA astronaut."
"Super interesting. I'm Roger Mcneil. Nice to meet you. Tell me, how did someone like you end up at my house at 2 am?"
The normality I had regained was shattered as soon as the boy that was me had said those words. To be more exact, the reality I had just perceived shattered into a thousand pieces and the air I was breathing ran out, and I panicked.
Again, I feel like a feather. I seem to float in nothingness although in the distance I see several points of light. My limbs are there even though I can't see them as I usually do.
I feel the urge to go for one of those points of light. Impressive. I decide to do this and vertigo invades me as soon as I start falling towards one of them.
Out of nowhere, gravity becomes very heavy. I... barely manage to walk. This is a very familiar rectangular room. I think I've seen it.
"Hello, is anyone here?"
"Shut up, you dolt!"
"Who are you?, why are you hitting me?" I ask these words half unconscious, on the floor and with a bloody mouth.
"You're bothering me again. You are a nightmare. No matter how many times you show up. I will travel to that black hole."
I raise my head as best I can, and yes, it's me, exactly as I looked before I started my journey to study Pantagruel: stressed, angry and nervous.
"Don't go. Pantagruel is a black hole whose characteristics are beyond our understanding, McNeil."
"You see? Always putting in doubt my many years of study. Get lost!"
His scream is so loud it haunts me. An echo lingers frighteningly in the room and I plug my ears and close my eyes.
Still, I hear a dry explosion that opens my curiosity and I see how the room where I am stretches like a chewing gum, then compacts like a canned tuna in a second.
My whole body feels constricted. I can hardly move. I feel like I'm dying. God Almighty!
With little awareness, I feel a small touch on my forehead. It was subtle, but enough to activate my integrity completely.
I hear this as a distant voice. I don't pay too much attention. But, as soon as I come to my senses, I see myself sitting up. Then everything gradually brightens up and a beautiful meadow is painted before my eyes. Its greenery and general brightness increases as various multiform trees appear here and there.
I feel someone touching my right shoulder from behind. I turn around and find an old man with a bushy white beard.
"No, it's just you."
"Where the heck are we? What's this all about? Stop laughing and explain."
"What am I gonna do with you, McNeil? This is the 33rd time you've been here."
This confession leaves me speechless. As quiet as the landscape around us.
"Is this life after death?"
"No! We are alive, you and I. This is the singularity in Pantagruel."
"The singularity is not the infinitely dense and small point where a black hole ends. Instead, it is an infinitely large space where the whole Universe comes together."
"I don't believe a word of it."
"And that's why this is the thirty-third time you've been here."
"I don't understand, old McNeil!"
"In a nutshell, this scene repeats itself over and over again because your fear of accepting reality overwhelms you and you disappear."
"Okay, go on."
"In Pantagruel's singularity there is no set space or time. There is only "something" where the whole Universe is connected. And, of course, since there are no laws governing matter, the number of forms in which it can unfold is incalculable."
"But why does the matter that integrates me arrive here repeatedly?"
"Because your feelings dictate it."
I hear this and I can only laugh. I laugh like never before. I know what a joyful moment is after a long time.
"I'm glad you didn't disappear this time."
"You can't sum up the complexity of the Universe in feelings, old McNeil."
"But that's the way it is. The essence of the Universe has led you not to understand Pantagruel, but to find where you are happy. For example, whenever you want, a spaceship, just beyond the accretion disk, will be taking you to Earth.
"But I don't want that!"
"Exactly. Not now."
"Old McNeil, this is totally unheard of."
"Take care of yourself!"
Not again. This badly painted door at mom's house is haunting me. Wait. It's Christmas!
Yes, that's where I am. I'm anxiously waiting for Santa Claus to come down the chimney to leave my presents under the tree.
"Hello, little McNeil, what did you ask for Christmas?"
"Oh, Santa, what a strange outfit. You're all in white. Did your beard grow that long?"
"No, of course not. I came from space to make you happy. I traveled a lot and now I just want to be here with you and give you a hug."
"All right, Santa. But where do you come from, is the North Pole in space?"
And in that Christmas, in his childish eyes, shining like stars, I forever inhabited.
Yesterday, I came up with this idea of putting together some of my favorite things in life in a short story: Universe, art and Christmas. I was not totally sure I might connect these elements properly (this is, writing an interesting story), but I did know I could let my own emotions flow and feel relieved on the way .