A meteorite crashed into a field behind my apartment a few nights ago. My brother, Tom, and I dug it out after a quick search. As soon as Tom hefted it into our gardening wheelbarrow, he jolted upright, mouth slack.
“What is it?” I asked, convinced he had pulled a muscle or was pulling a prank.
He just stared.
“Whatever, dude. Let’s get this in the house.”
Tom followed me, silent. The next morning he finally spoke.
“What?” I asked.
“Life. Everything. I used to feel that if I achieved something in my lifetime I would be remembered, but those memories are just an atom in a star cluster. We remember Julius Caesar, but he lived only two millennia ago. We’re practically contemporaries. He’ll be forgotten soon enough, when the next despot conquers our known realm. And we’re not alone; throughout the universe there are beings in countless civilizations striving to be remembered; dying for immortality. Whole planets of souls wink out every day and are forgotten, if you can say that something that was never known can be forgotten.
“I’ve seen the whole of time, Ace, I’ve seen what we become. We’re known – feared even – for a while, but time flows like a river and we can’t stop it if we tried. This galaxy dies, is forgotten, and takes humanity and several other species with it. And beyond…beyond is just darkness. There is no purpose, Ace. None at all.”
Tom stayed on the couch for weeks holding the meteorite. He didn’t eat or drink. I rushed to help him when he finally passed out. My hand brushed the rock. He was right.