String Theory Childhood

Have you heard the theory that there are countless parallel universes, that at particular moments in your life when one decision was made, another universe began with another you who lived the choice you didn’t make.


What moment in your childhood would change where you are now? Of course, perhaps it the small forgotten decision that made all the difference. You’re alive because you took an extra minute to tie your shoe and so you weren’t on your bike in the intersection when the truck ran the stop sign. But those moments you can never know.

When I look back I think about the day when I was in the 6th grade and my dad chose to believe his wife, my step-mother, instead of me. Perhaps I wouldn’t have gone to live with my mother. If hadn’t gone to live with my mother, she wouldn’t have needed to move. If she’d hadn’t have moved, we wouldn’t have ended up living with her boyfriend. I’d be telling a different story today.

What happened though was that my father said, “I don’t understand why you’d say that. She works hard to make our home nice. I want you to try harder. She’s had a hard life, and she only wants what’s best.”

In the string theory, not only is there a world where I stayed with my father, there is also a world where he and his second wife never got together at all. I like to think a me is out there who experienced a tranquil childhood.

That me probably wouldn’t be a writer.

When I decided to live with my mother, I needed to lie. I left for my summer visitation, and on the way out the door, I kissed my dad’s cheek. “See you in two weeks,” I said.

But in two weeks my dad didn’t see me. He didn’t see me for almost a year because the judge wouldn’t allow it. Maybe there’s a universe where the judge told me to return to my dad and step-mother. I don’t want to know that universe.

Our universe though remains the only one we have access to. It doesn’t do much good to tell a child in trouble–you’re okay in another universe.

Believe your child. When they’re older, they’ll remember the person who believed.


This is part of a blog hop–Self as Child. Plum Tree works to promote children’s art and stories (please submit!).

Other writers participating: Tonia at Passionfind, C.C.Cole, Deb Hockenberry, and more to come.


On a side note–I’m writing very short stories for Story-a-Day May! Stories are here. Are you writing?

8 thoughts on “String Theory Childhood

  1. Really good post, thank you, very poignant. I often think back over chains of events like that and it always blows my mind how seeming small things can lead to major knock-on events.

  2. Pingback: My First Parallel Universe « An' de walls came tumblin' down

  3. ontheplumtree

    Really thoughtful post, Marta. I often used to look up at the midnight sky and wonder if I was living happily somewhere else. Thank You for posting this as part of our promotion for Youth Tube.

  4. This struck an emotional chord within me. It reminds me that I don’t wonder if there’s a happy me somewhere else, with all her dreams achieved and no dirty laundry in the closet. As you said, we have this universe to contend with. I like what you said about writing- that if weren’t for the pain you’ve had to face, you wouldn’t be a writer. I, for one, am glad you are one. I know what means to spill a little blood on the page, and realize its the murk dwelling in you. We have to expunge it, somehow.

    I have a birthday coming up and I always re-evaluate at this time. You’ve inspired me to open up on the page more. Truth is a terrible beauty.

    In return, I’m priveledged to work with you on this project.

    Keep writing, Marta. 🙂

  5. Fascinating thoughts. I’m plagued by the questions of the potential ramifications of making different choices. Mine tend to manifest more in thoughts of time travel instead of string theory, but with the same pursuit. I particularly liked the phrase, “It doesn’t do much good to tell a child in trouble–you’re okay in another universe.” Thanks for sharing.

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