Her heart was racing.
She was pacing.
She saw the light.
Was she gone?
Was it long?
Before she was found?
What’s going on?
She heard a sound-
She was on.
Beep! Beep! Beep!
“Nobel, are you okay?” Asks Nobel’s mother, “You look like you’ve been sweating all night and your alarm clock has been going on for ten minutes. Get up honey, I’ll drive you to school.”
Nobel didn’t comprehend most of what was going on around her at the moment. She finds herself up and sluggish. She puts on the first things she sees: Grey sweats and a black t-shirt. She heads downstairs and her mother has made breakfast for her. She eats at her round table. It’s black and her kitchen is mainly white. She has white countertops and white cabinets. The dining table brings out the eccentric.
“Thanks for making breakfast Mom.”
“Anytime dear, are you excited for school?”
“I’m about as excited as I am any day…”
The truth is Nobel doesn't enjoy her school. She feels out of place with the other students. Although she loves the academic rigor, there’s just an eerie feeling about the school. However, she knows that her school means a lot of pride for her mother. In order to get into the school she had to take a test and score top 25% of all the incoming freshmen coming in. She was lucky to place in the top five percent.
Nobel finishes her breakfast so she and her mother walk out together. They have a blue Sedan. It’s nothing too showy which is the way she likes to live. She just wants what she needs. She never really understood people who liked to “show off” things. At school there are so many people who choose to be full of themselves. Most people don’t understand that it takes more than memorizing facts and passing a test to be “smart”. Nobel understands that you have to be mature enough to handle your intellect without being rude to others. People’s intellect shouldn’t devalue or value them more.
“Well now, no need to be too excited.” Nobel’s mother says sarcastically as she and Nobel get in the car, “Don’t forget about your doctor's appointment after school today.”
“Do we really have to go?” Nobel asks.
“I know you don’t want to go, but I’m concerned about you… You’ve been sleeping horrible lately and you seem more down than usual. I won’t force you to tell me what’s up but I want a doctor to make a professional call. I love you too much to see you like this.”
“Mom, you know I’m just stressed out…’’
Nobel and her mother pull out of their little driveway, from their little home. They’ve lived in that house for years. She rode her first bike in front of that house. She learned to walk on the patio of that house. The house itself is bland, with red bricks. There’s nothing much to it, yet something about it makes Nobel feel nostalgic. She just pushes the feeling away and focuses more on the conversation.
“I know you are. Who knows, maybe the doctor will have some tips on managing stress?”
“Mom, my counselor could do that. I don’t need to see a doctor.”
“Honey… Can you please just do it for me? If you don’t want to go, that's fine, but will you promise to go to see the doctor to make me happy?”
Nobel takes a few minutes before she responds. She feels guilty about the argument but doesn’t feel like apologizing. She knows what to say so she says, “Yes mom, I’ll go for you.”
“Thank you dear.”
Somehow Nobel finds herself in front of the school. The sign says, “Millennium High School for the Gifted”. Nobel reminds herself of the first time she saw the high school. She was impressed by the powerful name. She later found out that the school really wasn’t all too powerful.
“See you this afternoon darling. I love you!”
“I love you too, Mom.”
Nobel enters the campus and she gets this weird feeling. She feels like something is going to happen. This whole day just feels off to her.
“Hey Noble, are you okay?” Her only friend, Marie, asked.
“Oh yeah I’m fine Marie.” Nobel chuckled at her suspicions and changed the subject, “Are you ready for school today?”
Nobel and Marie enter the school and they see the big banner that says “Special Guest Speaking Day”. Every year there is a special guest who comes in to speak about the STEM field. It could be anyone from an engineer, doctor, anesthesiologist, computer programmer, etc. Nobody knows who the guest speaker will be until they formally introduce themselves in the auditorium.
“Of course I am! We get to miss a whole period this afternoon and missing school any day is a positive in my book!” Marie says, a bit overly enthusiastic. Some other students begin to glance at Marie and Nobel.
“Okay, okay, calm down Marie!” Nobel says, almost yelling at Marie, “People are looking at us…”
Marie looks around skittishly, “Oh, I’m sorry Nobel. You know I’m just a bit rowdy sometimes.” She chuckles a little but Marie knows Nobel doesn’t like the attention on her.
Marie and Nobel head to class together and await the day ahead of them.
The day is fleeting
What has been done?
What will be done?
There is none.
I know of none.
All she needs is more time.
Yet she does not know
That there is a sign.
“Ms. Nobel, what are you thinking about?” Ms. Hadrian, Nobel’s advanced physics teacher asked her.
“Nothing ma’am. I’m just feeling a little off today.”
“Are you sure you haven’t made a new discovery? I would love for you to share it with the class.” Ms. Hadrian says sarcastically and tries to hide a smirk but it is distinctly noticeable.
“No Ms. Hadrian, I apologize for staring off in class. I am only human and get distracted.”
“Is that back talk Ms. Nobel?”
“Ms. Hadrian, you asked me a question, I was merely answering it. I do not intend to cause conflict.”
“Ms. Nobel, you can sit outside the classroom. I do not need this in my classroom environment. You can figure out the notes tonight at home, alone.”
Ms. Hadrian added emphasis on the last word, possibly to try and trigger more out of Nobel.
Nobel does as she says and is out within the next minute. The class doesn’t say a word. Nobel hates Ms. Hadrian but class will be over in a minute because it’s almost time to head to the auditorium for the guest lecture.
A few seconds later the announcer comes on saying, “Attention MHS students and teachers! It’s time to head to the auditorium for the annual Special Guest Speaker Day.”
Ms. Hadrian’s students walk out of the classroom and lastly comes Ms. Hadrian. Nobel only decided to wait for her so she could see Nobel didn’t walk off.
“I’m sorry Ms. Hadrian for anything I said that seemed rude.”
“Of course you are. Lucky you we had this event so I couldn’t send you to the office. Please, head down to the auditorium.’
“Yes ma’am,” and she heads down the hallway and sees Marie but isn’t in the mood to talk that much.
“Nobel!” Marie shouts to gain Nobel’s attention.
“Hey Marie.” Nobel says indifferently.
“I’m so excited! Who do you think the guest speaker will be?”
“I’m not sure but we are about to find out.” They enter the auditorium full of students. It makes Nobel feel like an ant. The auditorium is three stories, but isn’t very lengthy. It feels very tight yet enormous at the same time. All the seats are red and the lighting has always been a bit odd. They find two seats available in the front so they decide to sit there. Although Nobel would have preferred somewhere further towards the back or up higher, Nobel enjoys pleasing Marie.
“The stage seems so large when you’re in the front.” Nobel said aloud, not even realizing it. She had only been in the auditorium for this event every year. In fact, she can’t remember any time the school really ever used the auditorium other than for this day. There were plays and musical performances but the school never really emphasized its art programs. In fact, Nobel asked herself, why would the school have such a nice auditorium if they were never really going to use it?
“I know right! We are so lucky to have found two seats open!”
Just like that, the room full of high schoolers goes silent. Everybody is on the edge of their chairs as the lights dim, except for Nobel. She wants to know who the speaker is, but she isn’t willing to give into petty stressors. She looks up and the person steps out, amazed at the crowd of students. It’s a male, likely in his forties. He’s wearing a stereotypical white lab coat.
Although he tries to take his steps with pride, he seems almost frightened in a room with a bunch of sweaty teenagers, as if he doesn’t know what he’s gotten himself into. An administrator hands him a microphone and he just stands there gazing for a little longer than normal.
“Hello Millennium High School! My name is Dr. Brown Spradlin. I have a doctorate in physics. However, I specialize in something very cool that will hopefully, someday, revolutionize the world we live in today: string theory.”
The whole auditorium gasps at the last words of Dr. Spradlin. String theory has severely grown in popularity over the last few years. So many scientists are dedicating their time because they know that they are going somewhere with it. They still need so many people to work in the field just because of how advanced it is. Anyone who dedicates their lives to trying to unlock the secrets of the current world is looked up to.
“Did you hear that?” Marie says excitingly as she can in a whisper.
Nobel didn’t respond because she had a hard time believing that there was a string theorist in front of her. Nobel had little knowledge of what she wanted for her future but she knew she wanted to be a string theorist and work in the field of physics.
“Now, now… I know this is hard to believe. Some of you may not know what string theory is, which is why I have to start with that.”
There are still whispers from within the crowd. Teachers and administrators are trying to get the students to be quiet. You can hear people’s excitement. Nobel knows it’s not just her, whose heart is pounding. She can sense everyone else about to start jumping off the walls.
Dr. Spradlin seems to be a little flustered at the teens not quieting down. However, he continues on anyway, “It's a very simple concept. The string theory states that there are ten dimensions. Dimension one, two, three, and four we already know about. They are width, length, depth, and time. Dimension five deals with the idea that there is a world with slightly different outcomes than ours. Dimension six deals with the idea that there is a world where the possible outcomes would be visible. The seventh dimension is believed to be where we could see a world that started off with different initial conditions but then branched out infinitely. The eighth dimension would show us visibly what those conditions were. In the ninth dimension, all possible laws of physics and universes could be seen. Finally, in the tenth dimension, everything and anything in cosmic revolution is available. This theory was created by Michio Kaku, a great scientist in the 21st century. How did it get its name, you ask? The idea is that all matter is made up of strings and any physical forces that affect the matter are vibrations of the strings. This may sound crazy when you first hear it but it actually makes sense when we look into it deeper.”
A student in the crowd towards the front raises their hand. Nobel asked herself how they had a question if the lecture had just started. Dr. Spradlin notices immediately and points to the student, indicating that they can speak.
The student asks, “Why do you have so much hope in this if we have been trying to prove string theory for decades? What makes you think that we will do it now or ever?”
“Well that’s a good question. I am not an all knowing intellectual, in fact I’m far from it but…” Dr. Spradlin stopped mid sentence and you could see wires moving in his brain. He continued after a minute by saying, “Well, let me show you an example of my thought process. I would like to ask for a volunteer from the crowd.”
It was amazing how fast all the hands went up. Nobel found herself flinching a little when it happened all of a sudden. Even Marie raised her hand. She felt like the only person who didn’t raise their hand. She would love to volunteer but being in front of that many people was too much for her.
“Why haven’t you raised your hand?” Marie asked, concerned for Nobel because she knew that Nobel loved string theory and knew so much about it.
“You know I don’t like the attention, Marie” Nobel said, extremely tensed up because of the situation around her.
Dr. Spradlin was trying to pick from the large group of students who raised their hands. It seemed impossible so he decided to look for a student who didn't raise their hand, which seemed impossible until he saw Nobel.
“You there,” said Dr. Spradlin pointing at Nobel, “I choose you. Come up please.”
Nobel was frozen. Her heart was pounding. There’s no way she could get up from her seat. She wished someone had put glue on it so she had an excuse to not get up.
“S- sir, I didn't raise my hand.” Nobel stuttered as politely as possible.
“I’m aware. That’s why I chose you, please come up.” Replied Dr. Spradlin.
Nobel couldn’t understand what was happening. She got up and walked towards the stage. Every step felt like a rock hitting the ground in her head. Her legs felt heavy and she knew her adrenaline levels had to be skyrocketing. By the time she got to the stage, she finally looked up. She saw all the people and she felt a bit dizzy. The lights were half blinding her. She turned to look at Marie and her mouth was still agape in shock.
“What’s your name?” Asks Dr. Spradlin.
“Uh, I, my, my name is Nobel.”
“That’s a very nice name. Well Nobel, here’s what I want you to do: I want you to stand right in the center of the stage. I’m going to be looking the other way and I want you to just stand there.”
Nobel does as she is told. She starts to get used to the lighting and as long as she doesn’t look at the crowd too much, she can pretend they aren’t there. She still doesn’t understand how she got into this situation.
“Great, so now you can see that Nobel is right in the center and I’m standing here to the side. I’m not looking at Nobel but does that mean she isn’t there? Of course not, I know she is still there and so do you, because you can actually see her. However, now, Nobel, I want you to move from where you are now or stay where you are and don’t tell me.” Nobel moves two steps to the right closer to where Marie is. Dr. Spradlin continues on with, “I have no idea if Nobel moved. I know she’s still there but now she may have moved. String theory states that matter is the vibration of strings. We don’t see that but we believe it's there. Right now I have no evidence to where Nobel is. This is similar to how we were thinking decades ago. However now with more powerful technology and minds we have leads and ideas that could potentially get us to seeing these dimensions and possibly even entering them. To keep it simple, let's say the leads and ideas are Nobel’s voice. I don’t know if she moved but based on her voice I can figure it out. Nobel, I’m going to say your name and every time I say it, I want you to respond with something, whatever you want. Every time you respond I will get closer to you until you tell me to stop. So let’s start. Nobel.”
“Here,” responds Nobel, starting to forget about the crowd and actually enjoying the experience she’s having.
Dr. Spradlin gets halfway to Nobel then says, “Nobel.”
“Here,” responds Nobel again.
This time Mr. Spradlin is almost to her but he is confused on what direction she is in so he says, “Nobel.”
“Stop,” says Nobel once Dr. Spradlin is right in front of her.
Dr. Spradlin turns around and says, “As you can see, I have found Nobel by only using her voice. This is what scientists are in the process of doing with string theory, but they still haven’t found the person attached the voice. We need your generation to help us with that.”
Just like that the bell rings and students pick up their stuff and head out the auditorium in a herd. Nobody took a second thought to leaving, except for Marie. Nobel overheard Dr. Spradlin say, “Time's up already?’’
Nobel replied to him saying, “The time is already up but it was really cool meeting you, Dr. Spradlin.”
“Thank you Nobel. The reason I came here wasn’t just to give a speech about string theory. I wish I would’ve had more time. I wanted to go in depth with the technology we use. I shouldn’t have answered that student’s bizarre question.” His face became disappointed and he stopped in his thoughts but he quickly recovered.
“Anyway, yes, the reason I came here is because this school is full of geniuses and they want a student from here to come work for our corporation. Since you’re the only one I’ve met, I’d like to offer you the opportunity. Call this number and they’ll redirect you to who you need to speak to about the opportunity. I hope you’ll consider it and take it.”
Nobel’s mind goes blank. She has no idea what’s been going on in the last few hours. She got offered a life changing situation in a second. How does that happen to her of all people, Nobel asks to herself?
“Thank you so much Dr. Spradlin. This opportunity really means so much to me, you have no idea!” Nobel is so excited she found it hard to contain herself. She felt as though she was gliding through the air. She felt as if she was a balloon in the sky being pushed by fierce winds.
“I’m glad I could make someone’s day. I have to go now for a meeting I don’t want to run late to. I’ll be excited to see you again and hopefully not as the timid shy girl but as someone who changes the world.”
With that, Dr. Spradlin left but Nobel couldn’t. The whole auditorium left, including Marie, but Nobel couldn’t. Nobel thought to herself, about how her whole life had just changed and she was supposed to just walk out. She looks out at the empty auditorium and smiles. She pulls out her phone and sees three missed calls from her mother.
“Oh crap I forgot about the doctor's appointment!” Shouts Nobel to herself and runs down to her seat and grabs her things. She races down the hallways to the front entrance where her mother awaits for her.
“You were late on purpose, weren’t you? You seriously don’t want to go to this doctor’s appointment so you ignore my calls and decide to show up to the car twenty minutes late! Nobel this is unacceptable! I don’t care if we are a whole day late, I am taking you to see the doctor and don’t even explain what happened. You made a promise and I thought you would keep it. You always keep your promises.”
Who am I?
I say I’m worthy
But of what?
I get back up
Who am I?
Yet in the end there’s someone at the end
Am I that someone too?
Who am I?
“How do you feel on a regular basis?” Asks Nobel’s doctor, Dr. Hooken.
“I feel fine. I feel stressed a lot lately but I’m a high schooler, it's nothing new.”
“Are you sleeping well at night?’’
“No. I’ve been having a lot of stressful dreams.”
“Okay are you eating okay?”
“Have you had any suicidal thoughts lately?”
“Is school good? Grades? Social life? Everything?”
“It’s the same as always Dr. Hooken.”
“If I may speak, she’s also been getting distracted easily. I’m not sure why and she won’t tell me,” says Nobels mom.
“Is this true Nobel?” Asks Dr. Hooken.
“Yes. I just feel like I’m worrying about a lot right now and it’s a little distracting. That’s all it is.”
“Ms. Actingston, I think your daughter is just experiencing high amounts of stress. If she is being completely honest with me and you.” Says Dr. Hooken to Nobels mom.
“Is there any way we can do something about it?” Asks Nobel’s mom.
“Stress is normal for any teenager but you can ease her by maybe putting less responsibility or pressure on her. It’s a common thing parents do, I’m not sure if you do or not. Also try to be patient and calm. Just hear her out when she wants to say something. That’s as much as you can control with at home stress. Other stressors she has to handle herself. Please bring her back if anything worsens. Stress isn’t good in large amounts all the time, it can cause other medical issues. Other than that, there’s nothing else we can do for her.” Says Dr. Hooken.
“Thank you Dr. Hooken,” said Nobel’s mom
Dr. Hooken left so Nobel and her mother sat in the empty room alone for a while until her mother decided to say, “I’m sorry for pressuring you into coming to the doctor. I was just really worried about you. I'm also sorry about the way I treated you in the car.”
“It’s okay mom, I know you just wanted the best for me,” Nobel replied.
A nurse came in and said, “You guys are free to go!”
“Thank you,” Nobel and her mother said at the same time.
Nobel and her mother get in the car to drive back home which isn’t too far away. They drive in silence for a couple of minutes. Then Nobel’s mother asks, “So how was your day at school?”
“Well… the reason I was late is because a string theorist offered me an opportunity to work for their company.”
Nobel’s mom almost slammed on the brakes but luckily she didn’t. Instead she asked, “What?”
“So we had a guest speaker talk to us about string theory and then he called on me to come up to the stage to help him give a demonstration and it was so different. You know I never do those things and at the beginning, I was scared out of my mind but by the end I actually enjoyed it and-”
Nobel’s mother finished her sentence,
“And you want to be a string theorist…”
“Well yes, so I do want to take the opportunity. I’ll tell them tomorrow. What do you think?”
Nobel’s mother is on the verge of tears but she can’t show it. She has to support Nobel’s dreams even if it means sacrificing her own feelings. After so long of silence she says, “I want you to pursue your dreams.” She gets out of the car once they pull onto the driveway and she heads straight into the house.
Nobel just sat there, unsure what to do. She reflected on her day. She reflected on her mother. She just sat there thinking until her brain couldn’t think anymore. Finally, her eyes were shut.
There’s so much
It’s never ending
I hope to take the right one
Nobel wakes up the next morning in the car. She’s lucky she didn’t die in her sleep due to lack of oxygen or have some person kidnap her and rob the car. She enters the house and realizes her mom isn’t up yet. She grabs a piece of bread and some milk and calls it breakfast. She walks out the house again to catch the bus. She sees the bus turning at the corner and she feels lucky to be on time. She enters the bus and sits in her favorite seat: the very last one. She looks out the window and realizes she didn’t have a nightmare last night.
She enters the school and goes to class immediately because she doesn’t want to talk to Marie. Nobel thinks Marie is upset with her about yesterday. She’s scared Marie is jealous because she didn’t wait for her.
Once class had started, an announcement came on saying, “Attention, Nobel Actingston, please report to the principal's office. Nobel Actingston, please report to the principal's office.”
Nobel looks at her teacher and he nods. Mr. Rattling is one of the few respected and kind teachers at the campus. He’s strict but he knows how to make you smile. He’s one of the best math teachers Nobel had ever had.
Nobel enters the principal's office and sees a man of medium stature, likely in his thirties. She looks at the principal and she gestures for her to sit down.
“What’s going on here?” Nobel asks
“I knew this would happen,” Said Ms. Anderson, the principal.
The man stands up and offers his hand, “Hello Nobel, my name is Mr. Berkeley. I am the owner of String Corporate. The company that you got a card for yesterday. I know Dr. Spradlin offered you the position at the company so I just wanted to meet you and tell you more in depth about what you'd be doing.”
“Good to meet you,” Nobel says and shakes Mr. Berkeley’s hand.
“Please sit,” says Ms. Anderson.
Nobel sits and says, “I already decided I want to join your program, I don’t need a talk on this. I’ve dreamt of doing this with my life for years. I was going to call you this afternoon.”
“That’s great! I’m glad you chose our company! I guess my purpose here is unnecessary. I want you to show up to this company tomorrow at the same time you come to school. We are excited to have you!” Mr. Berkeley says overjoyed.
“Am I free to go?” Asked Nobel.
“Yes,” said Ms. Anderson.
Nobel leaves but waits around the corner. She could get in trouble not going back to class but this was way more urgent. That situation was way too eerie. There was something off about everything. She waited there for maybe ten more minutes. Mr. Berkeley finally came out. She knew she had to follow him. She stayed behind the corner until she saw him walk out the door. She walked out the door right before it could close again and sprinted to a tree near the entrance. She peeked out just barely enough to see Mr. Berkeley. She sees Mr. Berkeley pull out his phone as if to call someone.
“Hey, yeah, she’s coming. Can you believe I didn’t even have to give reasons? She was all in. Dr. Spradlin really is from another dimension!” He starts laughing uncontrollably for a couple minutes.
Nobel wonders if that was a play on words or…
“Anyway, I’m heading over right now. See you in a bit, I’ll give you more details then.” Mr. Berkeley hangs up the phone and takes something out of his pocket.
Nobel can’t see what it is but within a few seconds something unearthly happens… A void appears in mid air, in the formation of a circle. It’s a bit far and Nobel can’t see what’s on the other side of what seems to be like a Hollywood portal. Nobel wonders if she’s dreaming and somehow she got in a bus crash this morning and is currently in a coma or something.
Mr. Berkeley takes a step into the “portal” and turns back to face the school. He looks straight and says, “Oh Nobel, you don’t know your future. You don’t know the beginning of this universe. You don’t know what’s to come…”
Mr. Berkeley walks into the “portal” and it closes.
Nobel comes out from behind the tree. In shock, she stands there in awe. Finally she says to herself, “I am the gateway to the future.”