She said she was born during the first three minutes of the big bang, when all sorts of things could happen. There were no laws of physics by then, you see. Thus she came to be, a grown up woman, in her mid twenties, wearing a red skirt and a white blouse. And somehow, she was older than the universe.
We met on a bus. I was commuting home, standing next to the back door. Looking to the front of the vehicle, I noticed the back of a woman’s head. There was something very unique about it, but I couldn’t understand what. I kept staring at it for a long time. As the bus got closer to my stop, I suddenly realized: it was her hair’s knot. At first glance you couldn’t notice it, it looked just like a regular hair bun, kinda sloppy, undoing itself slightly to the sides. But if you paid real close attention to it, you could see; Her hair was so thin and dense that it looked like it was made of gas clouds. The sloppy bits were actually spiral arms converging to the center of the knot, and they were denser on the sides. Little bright spots would sparkle inside of it and light would behave in a weird way around the knot. She had a small galaxy tied in the back of her head.
I kept staring at her for so long that I lost track of time. My stop was long gone and I had no idea where I was. There were only a few people in the bus now, and I realized she knew I was staring at her hair. It didn’t seem to annoy her. She got up, walked in my direction and smiled. I was really embarrassed and nervous, while she seemed very calm. “Hi!” All I could say back, stuttering, was “y-your hair knot l-looks like a… a… ga-galaxy.” It was the creepiest thing I’ve ever said to a girl, and yet, her smile broadened. “It is a galaxy. Well, it’s more like a proto galaxy. It’s a really young galaxy, really small too.” “Oh… I see.” “Do you want to touch it?” An old lady sitting beside us gave me a funny look. “I… I don’t think I should, we…” “Here, feel the arms.” She took my hand and guided it to her hair. I could feel the galaxy’s arms; it was the softest thing I’ve ever touched. I couldn’t actually feel anything with my touch, but my fingertips felt cool and cozy at the same time, and tiny electric shocks scratched my skin. “Now feel the core”, she said, and I felt my hand being drawn to the small spot in the center of the hair knot, so hot and heavy I felt like my entire arm would be tore apart by the galaxy’s core. “It’s… It’s so dense!” “There is a massive black hole in there, holding the galaxy in one piece.” “But how can you keep that in your hair?” “It doesn’t affect me.” “How? Wait, how come you have a small galaxy in your hair?” “This is my stop.” The mundane, matter-of-fact tone of her voice almost made the magic of the touch of a galaxy go away. She got off the bus, and I followed her. I had to. I meant to insist on my question, how could she have a galaxy in her hair, but she turned to me suddenly and looked right into my eyes. I looked back at hers and oh, there’s more than just the galaxy in her hair. Her eyes were very, very dark. It was the deepest darkness I’ve ever faced. So vast, infinite space compressed inside two tiny black dots, with brief glimpses of cosmic light escaping its boundaries. I felt like jumping into it. “Would you believe me if I told you I’m older than the universe?” She would definitely make more sense if that were true. I told her so and she invited me to her apartment for a cup of coffee and cake. “I love baking!”, she said cheerfully.
She lived in a kinda Escherish studio. It was a small
place, but if you focused in a specific part of the place, it would seem
huge, much bigger than the apartment. She had a wall full of books so
wide that its limits would seem to escape the corner of the eyes; her
kitchen looked extremely well equipped with more utensils than it would
fit in a much larger place and her stove had something that reminded me
of giant star furnaces. She gave me a slice of the best cake I’ve ever
eaten and poured down some coffee in a very cheery cup. “It doesn’t make
much sense, but that’s just how it is. I was born older than the
universe.” “You were born before the universe?” “No, not before, but in
the very beginning of it. And somehow, when I came to be, I was already
older than the universe.” She told me everything about her life. The
first instants of creation, the eons floating in space, the discovery of
humankind and other kinds before that, and how she never got to get the
grasp of the concept of time. I listened very carefully to her thirteen
billion years story and suddenly realized that another thirteen billion
years had gone by. I went to her window to check if the planet had
become stardust already but everything seemed ok, just a few hours
older. “Oh, don’t worry about that, the laws of physics don’t work
around me.” “I kinda imagined that from the beginning, actually.” “If
you want it, I can take you back home, so that you would arrive earlier
today as if you’d never spent some hours here.” “No need for that, it’s
not a problem really.” “Are you sure?” “Yes, no problem.”
Then came the realization that I just outlived a million stars in this brief time eating cake, and that in the last billion years or so I grew to love her. It was not only the fact that she lived the most interesting life ever, but the way she dealt with it, without going crazy. And she still wears the same red skirt and white blouse. I could tell by her face that she was inclined to fall in love with me too, for at least the last three hundred million years. “Hey, listen, this time we spent here…” “Oh my gosh I’m so sorry! That must have felt like billions of years to you! I didn’t mean to bother you for so long!” “No no, it’s okay actually, I really enjoyed it…” “Really?” “Yes, I really did. Actually, I was wondering if I could spend some more time with you.” “Oh!” She blushed a little, and her eyes’ darkness engulfed me. For a brief eternity I stayed trapped there, in the vacuum of her confusion, until everything became warm and suddenly I was in her sofa facing that gentle cosmic smile. “Ok then, I guess that would be fun!”
dating for some billion years, now. I moved into her place recently – I
think it’s recently – and now it looks slightly bigger. I can barely
remember what I do for work after spending eons with her every day. I
wake up, go to the office, blink, and come back home. Sometimes we go
out, sometimes we just stay home and she bakes a glorious cake. She
cooks a lot and besides her own creations she knows every recipe ever
invented. We also travel a lot, going to the other side of the world and
back on the same day. I’m starting to lose the grasp of time myself,
with her stretching hours into billions of years into hours again. Space
too, I lost the notion of distances and limits. It just doesn’t make
any sense, after you get used to the flexible aspect of time.
Aside from the galaxy in her body and the unphysics around her, she is a pretty regular girl. Her features are surely attractive, but only in a very peculiar way. You must be really into astronomy to find her as beautiful as I do. She works as a teacher in a language school (for she had the time to learn every language ever spoken) and she likes baking, reading and indie flicks. She’s not much into fancy clubs and crowded dancing floors, being rather a cafe-book store-park-live concert kind of girl. At night she unties her galaxy-knot and all the stars run lose back to her body. We talk until she falls asleep and then I count the stars on the bright night of her skin until I start dreaming. Every time we make love all the supernovas inside her explode, and deep down I feel jealous for the lack of astronomical objects within my body.
Sometimes I fear this is all going to end. I can’t face the idea of a life restrained by time and space again. And I guess I can’t live without her cakes either. “What is end?”, she then asks me. I honestly don’t know anymore. “You are older than the universe, right?” “Yes, I am.” “You think you can manage to outlive it?” “Do you really think I will have to?” She’s right. What is end, anyway?