I sat on top of my unmade bed, staring at the distant stars through the rusty four-panel window in my room. The alarm clock on the nightstand glowed a harsh green. It read 2:14 a.m. The colon between the two numbers blinked at me relentlessly, reminding me each second that time was ticking by, regardless of my perception of it. The rest of my room was bathed in black, the only light coming from the blinking alarm clock. I looked down at it with a menacing glare, offended by its disruption of the dark. It responded with its routine blinking, not batting an eye at my catty stare. I turned my head back to the dim night sky, back to the vast star graveyard hanging over me.
The stars were brilliantly bright. They provoked the thought of distance as I stared at them through the glass. A blazing ball of gas, an inconceivable number of miles away, producing light in a tragically poetic explosion of all that it is and all that it will be. It occurred to me that the amount of time it had taken for the light of the stars sprinkled throughout the universe to reach my eyes may have been long enough that every star I was observing was already gone, a new luminous sphere of plasma already taking the place of the last one.
The combination of the roar of nothingness in my ears and the threateningly boundless presence of the universe surrounding me was cause for deep, transcendental thinking. The mind becomes a cautious place when solely exposed to itself. I started to wander the far reaches of my brain, traveling through caverns and crooks, hallways and hideouts, searching for an answer to a question I didn’t know.
The sheer size of space and the continuity of time are both enough to make anyone marvel at the creation of this universe. But marveling is where it usually stops. The average human mind doesn’t go on to think about what the size and continuity imply. They don’t think about our impending end, they don’t think about our legacy as a race and how it equates to nothing in the eyes of the universe. I imagine she laughs at our vain attempts to make something of ourselves, laughs at how shallow we collectively are, that most of us don’t have the mental capability to understand exactly what she is and how little we mean to her. Here we are, on a glorified rock hurtling through space, counting our days and trying to make the best of them before they run out, all for the sake of creating a name for ourselves and a reason for people to remember us. And for what? In the end, we all meet our end.
That night I realized that the demise of everything is inevitable. Sometime in the distant future, the cosmos will call out one final time, will call out to those who listen for the voice of the infinite beyond, and there will be no one there to answer it. We will have been eradicated. Wiped out of this world, wiped out of this life like an unwanted smudge on a whiteboard. The sun, in a breathtaking spectacle, will collapse in on itself, dying in the most elegant way a star knows. A fiery, destructive supernova ripping through all matter that surrounds it, consuming us in a burning heat and then leaving us in the spindly, icy hands of the unforgiving dimension we call home. This is our fate; this is what we are destined to be exposed to. This is our ultimate, conclusive end.
I snuck another glance at the nighttime sky. I realized my alarm clock was creating a bright green reflection in the window, obstructing my view of the stars. I whipped my head around to toss a rude glare its way. It stared back at me, proudly blinking the seconds away. It read 2:14 a.m. Weird how thoughts seem to be boundless, unaware of the concepts of space and time. An hour in the deepest reaches of my mind equates to a couple of seconds passing in the real world. Peeved by its disruption of the darkness and my melancholic mood, I reached over to my nightstand and unplugged the clock. My room was swallowed by the dark and it hugged me like a blanket, surrounding me in a warmth only it could provide. It seemed to whisper to me, pull me towards it, call my name as the moon calls the tide. I welcomed the dark like an old friend.
I returned my gaze to the magnificent beauty of the stars hanging over my head. I mulled over my thoughts and eventually decided that I didn’t want to ponder anything, I didn’t want to uncover new truths. I let my mind be free. I let it sit blank, the roar of nothingness ringing in my ears. I looked up to the stars one last time.
The silence of the sky was deafening.