by Teo Yu Sheng
Stars – beautiful, aren’t they?
Colossal clouds of gases pulled together by their own mass, colliding, coalescing and fusing tirelessly together to produce the brightest and purest form of energy.
But everything has its limits.
Because light travels at a finite speed, the shimmering stars that we see in the night sky are nothing but echoes of the past, a reflection of a state that has been, a reminder of the things that no longer are. The present, on the other hand, is trapped in the cruelty of interstellar space, quietly awaiting discovery, and maybe adoration, millions of years later.
By then, things would have changed. I would have long been reduced to dust, and perhaps even the star itself would have turned into a supernova, shining, for the fleetest of moments, brighter than all the other stars in its galaxy combined while its core gets violently ripped out and ejected into space. As if reminding us that everything comes with a price.
But what more can we expect? We are – the planets, the stars, the galaxies – after all, just specks of dust drifting across an empty room; a sprinkle of glitter left to shine on its own, its beauty – and its chaos – left untouched and unnoticed. What else is there to do, but to stare at our night sky in awe, as light from different points in space – and indeed, time – reach our eyes?
So we fashion this twinkling tapestry of light into a map, a place where space and time present themselves to us in one single plane, as if one is no different from the other. A map that weaves the impossible, and by doing so promises boundless possibilities. How romantic it is to declare our love in front of this vast expanse of space and time; how fated we must be to be here, intertwined as one.
And how desperate we can be at times, willing ourselves to believe in an image that is united only in the retinas of our eyes, but separated forever in the fabrics of reality.
Cover illustration and design by me, depicting the Grus constellation.
If you like this, you might like: Back to Hard-boiled Wonderland, a short story based on Haruki Murakami’s novel Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World