The Theory

by Russell Edson

The big one went to sleep as to die and dreamed he
became a tiny one. So tiny as to have lost all substance. To have
become as theoretical as a point.

Then someone said, get up, big one, you're not doing
yourself any good. You puddle and stagnate in your weight.
Best to be up and toward. It irrigates you.

What, said the big one, have I not disappeared? Have you
not mistaken a cloud for me? Perhaps some local hill fulfills
your expectation?

No, it's no mistake, it's you; those interconnecting puddles
of flesh pulling at your bones, attempting that world-weary fall
toward the great waters of the world.

How you manage against gravity is one of the greater
triumphs of nature.

Do you think, said the big one, there's a woman who
would like to marry me?

Yes, had such a woman done everything in the world except
marry you, she might think it worthy before dying to complete
her catalogue. Or having done everything, go meekly
without decision or care to such a consummation.

Then you really feel, said the big one, that this woman
could come to care very deeply for me?

All is theoretical. Who knows enough to say the outcome
of any event, save that it was past us, and we saw the back of it
moving slowly into the Universe, seeking other settings to
repeat the fall of fate. . .

That sounds wonderful, that a woman like that could be in
love with me, said the big one.

But in a few moments the big one was back asleep, dreaming
that he had come to such enlargement that he constituted
all the matter in the Universe, which must include the earth
and the woman he would have loved. . .

Last updated May 02, 2015