Wonder

4.4
Average: 4.4 (15 votes)
Your rating: None

With every choice made comes a dozen others unmade.

 
She was perfect. Working her way through life had always been easy for Sofia Delandro, daughter of Amy Delandro, now a widow set for life with the investments made by her late husband. Born to a middle class family as one of the rare few that possessed naturally stunning looks, Sofia had never found it difficult to flatter and tease her way up in life. Now look how far she had come! A symbol of beauty and feminism, a lady rich and famous from her own modelling career and business-savvy husband, a woman with nothing left to want – these were all the characteristics that made her the envy and desire of everyone, from the most pitiful peasant to the most bitter trophy wife. But at night, when the empty bed greeted her sight for the nth time, and the hazy intoxication of sweet potent alcohol and trained companions failed to erase the taste of bile, Sofia wondered if this life was worth it, or would it have been better and so much more meaningful to have been ugly all her life…
 
 
She was never perfect. Sofie Delandro was a child born deformed, with a single hazel eye and a wrinkled, protruding lump, where her other eye should be, staring back at her from the mirror all her life. Partially due to a premature birth and partially due to the carcinogenic toxins her mother was always exposed to in her factory job, Sofie “could have been a real hot babe”. Although Sofie spent most of her adolescence toiling away in a bid to raise the status of her family from middle class, the first impressions people had of her often swept away her accomplishments and perseverance like fires ravaged lives. The lingering effects of her deformity succeeded in forcing Sofie into the life of a jobless outcast, but nevertheless, she found inspiration in the downtrodden and poor who had struggled with failure, overcome her and emerged with strength in their wills and lessons of life, ever so priceless, etched into their minds. And it was as Sofie consumed book after book, that her own talent for writing improved and inevitably, reluctantly unveiled itself. With the help of a few wonderful, accepting people and a pseudonym, Sofie Delandro’s story of a young boy trapped in poverty made its way to the bestseller’s list. Sometimes, Sofie’s overactive imagination would take over, and she wondered what her life would have been if her mother had spared herself from her factory job by accepting the second job offered to her (not the first offer as a middle school teacher – her mother was no good with immature children), but rather the simple, non-hazardous to health job of a journalist from the Hot News. Would she not be a happy, normal child then? She wondered…

 
She was an empty illusion. Sonia Delandro was down on her luck. Her early childhood consisted of a boring life wishing that she could have a superpower, or perhaps be a writer like her mother, but life was uninteresting, the only spice coming from the gossip
that her mother often brought back to the household and religiously shared with
Sonia. Sonia grew up on the outlandish, far-fetched tales borne of
desperate reporters’ pay-check-related falsifications, and grew to be a
vivacious, quick-witted teenager. The immense height of her tales was matched
only by the increasing darkness of her lies as she struggled for the attention
of her peers. The trend only continued as she made her way through life, and as
the pitfalls of her pockmarked face and loud-mouthed, airheaded persona subtly
made themselves known, Sonia Delandro sank into depression, and before she had
drank her first legal beer, she was already gone, her measly life slipping
along the wind, lost to a vast empire of consumption and spending, where no one
had time for one small little girl. Even as her mother wept and a cold,
heartless world failed to care, a burning question kept the single, childless
mother awake at night: All those years ago, had she made the right choice?
 
She had never existed. Sonya Delandro was only a memory, an idea, a faint wisp lost to the throes of time. Sonya Delandro had never existed but in the mind of Amy Delandro, now Amy Duskins. When Damien Delandro’s fatal car crash lost her all the financial support he would have provided, Amy Delandro was faced with a terrible and unforgivable dilemma. To keep the baby, or not? Unable to handle the prospect of raising a child alone in a world where her only qualifications were a Major in American Literature and a minor in Politics, Amy’s choice was clear. Three years later, Amy met Robert Duskins, a middle-aged, good natured man with greying hair and a silly grin, and together they settled down and had a quiet, contented life with a small apartment and their treasured darling Robbie. And Robbie grew up wondering what would have happened if he had not been born Robbie Duskins, but rather Robbie Delandro?
 
He was himself. Robbie Delandro’s parents quarrelled more than they talked, and over him more often than not. It was no fault of his that he had been born abnormal. He had no choice in it, and it was just who he was, and couldn’t they accept that? His father blamed his mother for always wanting a daughter, his mother blamed his father for never being there for the two of them, and they both blamed him for being something sick, something twisted, something diseased.
But Robbie did not believe that. The choice made the man, and every life was written by the individual, not the judgemental. So he liked guys, so what? He hurt no one by being who he was. Call him cheesy, but he was Robbie Delandro, and only Robbie Delandro.
But still, sometimes, he wondered…...
 

About the Author: 
Just a kid with two left feet.

Newsletter Signup

Submit your email address so we can send you occasional competition updates and tell you who wins!

Quantum Theories

P is for ... Planck's Constant

This is one of the universal constants of nature, and relates the energy of a single quantum of radiation to its frequency. It is central to quantum theory and appears in many important formulae, including the Schrödinger Equation.

B is for ... Bell's Theorem

In 1964, John Bell came up with a way of testing whether quantum theory was a true reflection of reality. In 1982, the results came in – and the world has never been the same since!

S is for ... Schrödinger’s Cat

A hypothetical experiment in which a cat kept in a closed box can be alive and dead at the same time – as long as nobody lifts the lid to take a look.

U is for ... Uncertainty Principle

One of the most famous ideas in science, this declares that it is impossible to know all the physical attributes of a quantum particle or system simultaneously.

W is for ... Wave-particle duality

It is possible to describe an atom, an electron, or a photon as either a wave or a particle. In reality, they are both: a wave and a particle.

N is for ... Nonlocality

When two quantum particles are entangled, it can also be said they are “nonlocal”: their physical proximity does not affect the way their quantum states are linked.

W is for ... Wavefunction

The mathematics of quantum theory associates each quantum object with a wavefunction that appears in the Schrödinger equation and gives the probability of finding it in any given state.

D is for ... Dice

Albert Einstein decided quantum theory couldn’t be right because its reliance on probability means everything is a result of chance. “God doesn’t play dice with the world,” he said.

I is for ... Information

Many researchers working in quantum theory believe that information is the most fundamental building block of reality.

U is for ... Universe

To many researchers, the universe behaves like a gigantic quantum computer that is busy processing all the information it contains.

G is for ... Gluon

These elementary particles hold together the quarks that lie at the heart of matter.

E is for ... Entanglement

When two quantum objects interact, the information they contain becomes shared. This can result in a kind of link between them, where an action performed on one will affect the outcome of an action performed on the other. This “entanglement” applies even if the two particles are half a universe apart.

L is for ... Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

At CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, this machine is smashing apart particles in order to discover their constituent parts and the quantum laws that govern their behaviour.

Q is for ... Quantum biology

A new and growing field that explores whether many biological processes depend on uniquely quantum processes to work. Under particular scrutiny at the moment are photosynthesis, smell and the navigation of migratory birds.

S is for ... Schrödinger Equation

This is the central equation of quantum theory, and describes how any quantum system will behave, and how its observable qualities are likely to manifest in an experiment.

C is for ... Cryptography

People have been hiding information in messages for millennia, but the quantum world provides a whole new way to do it.

M is for ... Many Worlds Theory

Some researchers think the best way to explain the strange characteristics of the quantum world is to allow that each quantum event creates a new universe.

T is for ... Tunnelling

This happens when quantum objects “borrow” energy in order to bypass an obstacle such as a gap in an electrical circuit. It is possible thanks to the uncertainty principle, and enables quantum particles to do things other particles can’t.

X is for ... X-ray

In 1923 Arthur Compton shone X-rays onto a block of graphite and found that they bounced off with their energy reduced exactly as would be expected if they were composed of particles colliding with electrons in the graphite. This was the first indication of radiation’s particle-like nature.

J is for ... Josephson Junction

This is a narrow constriction in a ring of superconductor. Current can only move around the ring because of quantum laws; the apparatus provides a neat way to investigate the properties of quantum mechanics.

S is for ... Superposition

Quantum objects can exist in two or more states at once: an electron in superposition, for example, can simultaneously move clockwise and anticlockwise around a ring-shaped conductor.

Q is for ... Qubit

One quantum bit of information is known as a qubit (pronounced Q-bit). The ability of quantum particles to exist in many different states at once means a single quantum object can represent multiple qubits at once, opening up the possibility of extremely fast information processing.

A is for ... Alice and Bob

In quantum experiments, these are the names traditionally given to the people transmitting and receiving information. In quantum cryptography, an eavesdropper called Eve tries to intercept the information.

R is for ... Randomness

Unpredictability lies at the heart of quantum mechanics. It bothered Einstein, but it also bothers the Dalai Lama.

T is for ... Teleportation

Quantum tricks allow a particle to be transported from one location to another without passing through the intervening space – or that’s how it appears. The reality is that the process is more like faxing, where the information held by one particle is written onto a distant particle.

P is for ... Probability

Quantum mechanics is a probabilistic theory: it does not give definite answers, but only the probability that an experiment will come up with a particular answer. This was the source of Einstein’s objection that God “does not play dice” with the universe.

Y is for ... Young's Double Slit Experiment

In 1801, Thomas Young proved light was a wave, and overthrew Newton’s idea that light was a “corpuscle”.

R is for ... Radioactivity

The atoms of a radioactive substance break apart, emitting particles. It is impossible to predict when the next particle will be emitted as it happens at random. All we can do is give the probability that any particular atom will have decayed by a given time.

C is for ... Computing

The rules of the quantum world mean that we can process information much faster than is possible using the computers we use now.

L is for ... Light

We used to believe light was a wave, then we discovered it had the properties of a particle that we call a photon. Now we know it, like all elementary quantum objects, is both a wave and a particle!

G is for ... Gravity

Our best theory of gravity no longer belongs to Isaac Newton. It’s Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. There’s just one problem: it is incompatible with quantum theory. The effort to tie the two together provides the greatest challenge to physics in the 21st century.

H is for ... Hidden Variables

One school of thought says that the strangeness of quantum theory can be put down to a lack of information; if we could find the “hidden variables” the mysteries would all go away.

V is for ... Virtual particles

Quantum theory’s uncertainty principle says that since not even empty space can have zero energy, the universe is fizzing with particle-antiparticle pairs that pop in and out of existence. These “virtual” particles are the source of Hawking radiation.

A is for ... Atom

This is the basic building block of matter that creates the world of chemical elements – although it is made up of more fundamental particles.

H is for ... Hawking Radiation

In 1975, Stephen Hawking showed that the principles of quantum mechanics would mean that a black hole emits a slow stream of particles and would eventually evaporate.

I is for ... Interferometer

Some of the strangest characteristics of quantum theory can be demonstrated by firing a photon into an interferometer: the device’s output is a pattern that can only be explained by the photon passing simultaneously through two widely-separated slits.

F is for ... Free Will

Ideas at the heart of quantum theory, to do with randomness and the character of the molecules that make up the physical matter of our brains, lead some researchers to suggest humans can’t have free will.

M is for ... Multiverse

Our most successful theories of cosmology suggest that our universe is one of many universes that bubble off from one another. It’s not clear whether it will ever be possible to detect these other universes.

D is for ... Decoherence

Unless it is carefully isolated, a quantum system will “leak” information into its surroundings. This can destroy delicate states such as superposition and entanglement.

Z is for ... Zero-point energy

Even at absolute zero, the lowest temperature possible, nothing has zero energy. In these conditions, particles and fields are in their lowest energy state, with an energy proportional to Planck’s constant.

K is for ... Kaon

These are particles that carry a quantum property called strangeness. Some fundamental particles have the property known as charm!

B is for ... Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC)

At extremely low temperatures, quantum rules mean that atoms can come together and behave as if they are one giant super-atom.

R is for ... Reality

Since the predictions of quantum theory have been right in every experiment ever done, many researchers think it is the best guide we have to the nature of reality. Unfortunately, that still leaves room for plenty of ideas about what reality really is!

O is for ... Objective reality

Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum physics, said there is no such thing as objective reality. All we can talk about, he said, is the results of measurements we make.

A is for ... Act of observation

Some people believe this changes everything in the quantum world, even bringing things into existence.