Einstein sat at his desk pilfering thru some papers and correspondence from students and colleagues, trying to decide which needed a prompt reply or just a little reassurance and direction.
So much work to do…
So many questions and answers to unravel and untie.
He was on the very brink of something new and complex. Something that would add to the legacy of his life’s work. Something that would change the world even further than anything he had accomplished to this point.
He was excited, anxious, reticent… A big ball of brilliant nerves…
So much work…So much to do
“Albert…” said a voice.
Einstein had momentarily forgotten about the man that he had found waiting in his office this morning. He had assumed the man was a journalist or something, but he, of course, had become distracted by the equations on his blackboard that he had left unfinished the night before, hoping to get to them again sometime today.
The visitor was nothing uncommon. Einstein was used to unannounced students and visitors. His office was always open to anyone; a fact that he was very proud of and fiercely enforced.
The school loved that about him…
He was always there to help.
“Professor… ” the voice said; same tone, same level as before.
Not hurried, it seemed.
Albert looked up from his papers on the desk, again, noticing the man sitting in the chair across from him, as if for the first time.
“Can I help you?” asked Albert, once again looking down at his blotter, then back at the man.
“It’s time to go” said the man
Flashes of his life flit thru the professor’s prodigious mind, as if though a gate had been opened, and almost as if the memories splayed out on the desk in front of him; a deck of life cards, face up.
Albert knew without knowing…
He said “I can’t go now”
“Of course you can” said the man.
“I have too much to do” said Albert, nervously returning to plunder his papers, attempting to show the stranger that he was uninterested in such a preposterous idea.
“It’s just not that simple” added the professor.
No reply came from the man.
“I have people that depend on me, work, very important and significant work that cannot be interrupted. I can’t just, go… ”
The Man looked down at his hands for a moment then peered back at Albert.
The man said, in a level and smooth voice;
“Someone else will do it”
Albert stared at the man….
This was stupid!
No one could continue his work, he hadn’t told anyone about the new stuff, it was only small ideas and insights bouncing around in his head that were linked by the barest of truths and commonalities.
“Unacceptable” said the professor.
“You are not the only person in this universe able to do great things” said the man
Albert had caught the “universe” implication.
The man continued “Do you actually believe that you are that critical in the scheme of things?”
“I have accomplished some small but, important work in my time” said Einstein; trying to sound humble.
The man brushed at his pants leg then back up at Albert.
The stranger took a pen from Albert’s blotter, drug a piece of paper before him and scribbled on it. When he had finished, he pushed the paper in front of the professor.
Albert said “What is this?” then looked down at the paper.
The man leaned back in the chair and casually tossed the pen back onto the desk and said “This is what I can answer for you”
Albert Einstein, the most recognized and revered scientist on earth, was scared… Unsure….
Refusing to look at the paper as if in defiance; that not doing so would postpone whatever this stranger had in mind. But Albert was becoming very aware that his time on earth was not infinite, after all.
“Men forget that they are only men, sometimes” the man said. “Their arrogance is amazing to me”
Einstein frowned at this comment and grudgingly looked down at the paper and read the word out loud…
“Everything” it said.
The stranger stood and said “I will answer everything”
He held out his hand to Albert…
“There ARE answers, professor” the stranger said. “To everything….”
“And simple…” said the man, smiling.
The office was quiet and cluttered when the faculty and students had started to appear at the vacant office door; hovering, staring…mortal after all…
The Dean of the University stood in front of the great man’s desk, his hands thrust deep into his coat pockets; looking down at the valuable, baffling, unfinished pile of papers.
What were they going to do now?
What would the University do?
Hell, what was the world going to do?!
Men like Einstein don’t just… Die!
So many questions, so much work left unfinished….
Spring wind brushed across the window of the small office.
The Dean left his musings for the moment and looked down at the desk again.
A prominent note lay on top of the blotter; noticeable and distinct as the object demanding attention amongst the clutter.
“Tag…. You’re it.” it read.
Carry on, indeed.