The first lesson anyone should be taught about stars is that most of them are dead.
What we see is time dilating, moving on without us, leaving us behind. We see the afterimage, the echo, the last, gasping breath of a mass that burst and imploded millennia ago.
And maybe this is why stars are so much more beautiful in autumn. Lonelier, bluer, less crystalline than in winter, they cease to lie. They are not frozen, they are not fixed. They exist, if just for seconds, in the same time, trapped in a single glance.
We’re all just moving frame by frame. It’s all movement and distance. After all, time doesn’t actually exist. It’s just a measure of entropy. How much distance exists, in both space and time, between a thing coming into existence and leaving.
Once we find a way to navigate it, the trap of time will dissolve. A fixed point is all we need. A planet’s orbit takes it to different places. Its coordinates 10,000 years ago won’t match the same coordinates we’d plot it at today.
Given enough room to move into that space we call “the future,” we will find a way back. All memories revisited, all experiences explored. On a particulate level, time will come to mean as little as touch.
(What we know as touch is merely repulsion—no matter how closely we cling together, every electron struggles to push the other away.)
(Maybe that is loneliness.)
But this is all to say the more we think we know, the more we discover illusion is the constant. Our universe could merely be a projection, a hologram, depths we have yet to imagine hiding further down. All connections could fall apart. And once we’ve found a way to slip those electrons, unravel time, walk the distance to the farthest star…
Then maybe there is a place where every person you’ve ever met is simply waiting to see you again.