Jane and Stephen Hawking


By Lecquia Chang, Year 11

“The message of this lecture is that black holes aren’t as black as they are painted. They are not the eternal prisons they were once thought. Things can get out of a black hole both on the outside and possibly come out in another universe.”

Stephen Hawking, ‘Into a Black Hole’ public lecture, 2008

 

****

March, 1995

JANE:

The smooth hazel brown solution concaves into its centre, unable to escape the pull of the silver tea spoon. The effect is hypnotising until the English Breakfast returns to its equilibrium with gentle oscillations.

“Wind back the clock.”

A phenomenon I still dream of.

A beginning that leaves me in wonder- the ruffled hair, gentle eyes, kind smile and fireworks that echoed throughout the night. It was the beginning of true love, a family, sacrifice and a long, heavy fight.

 

Jane and Stephen Hawking on their wedding day in 1965

Event Horizons

Motor-neuron disease. The probability to live only lies on the certainty of two years.

The lanky body becomes a blur of bucolic colours. Her lips tremble, unable to find the words of comfort. Her palms sweat as she crumples the sides of her dress. The stone Cambridge walls seem to have engulfed the rigid girl whose teary eyes fix on the boy. Her heart throbs as the air around her becomes thinner and thinner, colder and colder. There is a burning sensation for hope that keeps her unable to withdraw from his mental isolation.

He despairingly leans on the stone cold wall, hesitant to meet the blue trembling glittering eyes. Two years and an incurable disease. An equation he cannot answer.

She slowly walks towards him maintaining her eternal grace and whispers in his ear. She whispers the only answer the known fate will be merciful to bear- timeless love and a willing to fight.

  1. A wedding. A likely couple. And the enduring race with time.

An innocent girl in flawless lace and a boy – still able to bear his own weight, despite his inverted limbs and quivering clutch on a walking stick – walk arm in arm through the rain of petals; a symbol of youthful passion in a time of inescapable uncertainty towards their future.

 

JANE:

I was young and full of energy. A student of medieval Spanish literature and a wife to a peculiar man of extraordinary thoughts in the comfort of our Cambridge cottage. There were days when time felt still and content whilst during most days, time caused a collapse for all those who already carried its burden.

Two years turned into five… seven… eight… nine…

I became a mother of three beautiful children.

 A wife of one of the world’s greatest minds.

 A carer for the man I loved.

 A bearer of the mayhem in our household.

 A slave to my persistent self.

 

 Collapse

 Slurred words… trembling fingers… numb limbs.

Rays of sun ease through the dirty glass panes, dust particles float in the still air, and a wheel chair sits reluctantly in the kitchen’s corner teasing the fragile body.

Her strong frame hunches over and the thin sturdy fingers lift her doll-like husband by the torso from the bed into the dreaded chair. Her chest heaves. She watches him as his eyes shift deep in thought.

The days repeat.

Through the front door and onto the cobbled streets where the angelically bold woman pushes the doll to his academic sanctuary in the crisp morning.  Through giant wooden doors, bellowing halls, green lawns, white-bearded professors who sincerely nod as they pass, up creaking lifts and into the mercy of his fellows. She withdraws and heads home still in love but stolen by sadness.

The children are with her parents and with the house now lifeless, she falls into a chair. Fatigued from her infinite love for her family and undeniable commitment to her husband, she closes her eyes and trembles in her hands wishing for God to provide the strength that is slowly fading.

 

JANE:

Wealth and fame slowly seeped into our lives. It really did feel like the love we once shared, our family and ourselves were being swallowed by the black hole I understood.

 Some said I should stop pitying myself and be the wife and mother I was meant to be. Confronted and beaten, I would tell myself the same too but I knew that I was the only one who knew my strength and the drowning weight that rested on me. A weight I respected of his undeniable success, but also a weight like the exhausted and instable fuel in a star’s core that must collapse and explode, except for me it was living on a precipice.

  

Motionless in Time

Pneumonia. “A Brief History of Time”. A family and a wife.

A cottage quickly transformed into a flea market of intruding publicists and haughty nurses.

It was either:

Cameras flashing and an interviewer scribbling on his notepad as he listens attentively to the digitised voice whilst an exhausted wife is hiding in the kitchen silencing her spirited children.

Or,

flirtatious nurses accompanying the physicist to his lectures, feeding him and chuckling as they push the puzzled wife aside.

The house finally silent, she catches herself in the mirror. A middle-aged woman stares back. Shadows sit beneath her eyes and her once flawlessly smooth skin is now stained with lines. Where was the innocent girl who eagerly accompanied her husband when an invitation came? Where was the love she once felt with the comical but intriguing boy?

She was a woman who tried her best but had somehow become a wearied ghost who did not dare to disturb their frequent guests and the peace of the family’s household.

 

JANE:

 Dark. Inescapable. Frightening of the unknown.

 

A Singularity

 She hides in the kitchen chopping at some sprouts. Subtly, she peers through the door’s crack to the adjoining living room. The occasional flash of red gallivants past, along with a liberating chuckle, as if the nurse and her patient were alone. The wife contemplates as to whether intrude on their merriment or to stay silent, alone with her domesticity.

Time had somehow seemed slower teasing her longing to be at peace with her husband, away from the disturbances of arrogant guests.

Lost in her own black hole- hopeless, invisible to the outside world and oppressed by the responsibilities of pure love- her heart throbs and screams for the air she once knew.

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