Gravity

One of the science classrooms in UP exerts far less gravity than anywhere else on Earth. When you step inside you are in a constant state of free fall but you never hit the ground. It's the same principle behind microgravity in the International Space Station. You're technically falling towards the Earth but you're falling so fast while the Earth is spinning at 1,670 kph such that you never ever get the chance to hit the ground. Thus, you float around like you're inside a fish tank. You push and pull yourself to whichever direction you want to go. Every time you sneeze, you shoot back at the same speed of your sneeze. If you drop an egg it will not drop. And if you light a candle the flame will always be perfectly spherical.

According to my findings, the presence of one life form is to blame. The specimen is a male homo sapien about 5'9" tall, dark, and wears dorky glasses. Whenever he's not around, the room exerts the same force of gravity as anywhere else on the planet. But once he opens the door and steps inside, we glance at each other and everything just starts floating. Notebooks and pencils start rising in the air. Our hair swishes around, our clothes loosen up. Then our bodies float. The short and pudgy professor floats. Our armchairs float, and so do the desk, the laptops, the projector, our bags. The projector, it swirls around the room with a pyramidal ray of light. And wherever surface the light hits that's where our lecture is. The bulky television and the massive stand-alone air-conditioner too slowly rise in the air.

But for some reason, only I notice this. The short and pudgy professor continues his yawner lecture on permaculture and flush-free toilets like nothing is happening. My classmates continue to bob their heads droopy-eyed or scribble in their notes. The laptop hovering above the professor's desk floats toward the window and the professor simply pulls it back and taps on the keyboard to get to the next powerpoint slide. The length of everybody's arms starts stretching out as notebooks and things float away. But everybody just pulls them back and write as they were. I, on the other hand, start floating out of control. I flip and swoosh, I thrash my arms and kick my feet. I'm in a forever dive in a bottomless pit towards I don't know where.

I look at him and my muscles relax. Tension drops as his eyes seem to say that everything is alright. This is normal. We've been in constant free fall since the first day of class, right when he and I sat next to each other but never really seen each other, never talked, never noticed each other's presence. And the more I look at him the more I feel all right. I float and he floats as much as everybody else floats. We float pleasantly and just surrender ourselves to the force of gravity. We fall and we fall helplessly, without warning, without choice, without any way out. And then some sort of natural high oozes in my head.

Stop doing this, I want to say but I never do because I wanted it to begin with. This constant free fall. This constant floating. This constant staring. This constant wispy dreamworld that exists maybe only in my head and his. Nobody notices but we seem to understand. We know, we just know. How we know it, I don't know. All I know is that he knows that I know that he knows that I know. And that's all that matters. Beyond that, perhaps nothing else does.

When the class ends and I step back outside, everything slowly resumes to the natural laws of physics. Gravity grows heavier in proportion to our expanding distance away from each other, as I walk to my next class about a kilometer away, and he pedals his bike going elsewhere. Everything falls back to normalcy and my toes touch the ground. But instead of going to my next class, I walk to the direction where he disappeared. I search the sea of faces of people walking and biking around campus. I try to go to where I can find him. I inspect bikes I find along the way, bikes chained to bike parking lots and trees and poles and rails and grills and things. I walk on and on and on, searching and searching but never finding. The constant free fall, it's all I seem to always think about. Free falling next to him, and just falling and falling and falling forever and never hitting ground. Maybe I'll just see him next class, and we'll fall again and again and again.

// Apr 2012

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