Dear Professor Hawking,
I write to you from a reality that I never wanted to come alive. I was only 12 when I first stumbled upon your books. I didn’t understand them till a lot later. I had always felt the universe held some secrets and when I looked at you, I felt you knew them all. I was hooked on your life like a mad scientist scrambling over the secret of life. Your understanding of physics and cosmology stumped the geniuses of all times. Your theories unlocked a universe of possibilities that we’re still exploring. I wanted to experience your life first-hand, that’s when I decided to travel back in time, to meet you. To see you not only as a brilliant mind but as a human. I sat in my Hawking (they named the Time Travelling ships after you) and I came to 1962, when you discovered that ALS was paralyzing your body. I watched your world collapse from afar. I didn’t want to meddle with time, I was naive. I watched you struggle, I observed your love for your family, and I felt your intimacy with your work. Exploring your life chapter by chapter, I came upon the day you threw a party for the time travelers. ‘You are cordially invited to a reception for time travelers hosted by Professor Stephen Hawking’, it read.
I saw the chance and I took it. Never saw you so thrilled. I have met many people from different timelines, every single one of them wanted to know their destiny, but you never asked me a thing about yourself. You talked about humanity, you asked about space. You travelled the universe through me and if I remember correctly, you also made me chug a bottle of champagne. When I couldn’t, you joked saying ‘That’s what happens when a star explodes’. I chortled with the champagne still in my mouth and sprayed you with it. ‘And there’s the radiation’ you continued. Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny, you had said once and it’s evident that you lived by it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have kept the knowledge of time travel to yourself purely as a joke. You appeared in series like The Big Bang Theory, Futurama or even Star Trek for the pure joy of it. You loved watching yourself portrayed on screen. Be it the movies like ‘The Theory of Everything’, ‘Hawking’ to the documentaries like ‘A Brief History of Time’ or ‘Beyond The Horizon’.
You told me you might be bound to a wheelchair but in your mind you were free. I asked you what that meant and you told me all about your trips to Antarctica, Easter Island. When you told me you’ve been in a submarine AND a zero gravity flight, I envied you out loud and you only laughed. Because you knew, there’s a whole universe to explore. The curiosity of your existence, the excitement for the little things, and the admiration for the future made you seem like a child who’s just started learning about the world around him.
With all the knowledge of time, I never expected a time where you wouldn’t be. Your passing has left an intellectual vacuum in your wake. But it’s not empty. Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure. The universe doesn’t allow perfection, and your passing has made the near-perfect universe imperfect again. But you’re not gone. With a click you changed the course of science for many generations. Just like that, with a click, we’d be able to read your thoughts, watch you explain the unexplainable and time travelers like me can meet you all over again.
May you keep flying like Superman in microgravity, forever.
Advanced Monkey, Travelling in Time.
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