The Universe will die one day. I don’t know what that day will look like, particularly for a Universe like this with its buzzing and building and destroying bit by bit. I can imagine that it won’t be so unfamiliar, however. It’ll come very much on a day like today where a sun waves hello to a planet before saying goodbye and where the air is a freeze-dried powder.
There’ll be breath for a while – the expanding chest of a Universe who wishes to fill in its space. But it’ll be too short and boundaries will crop up and don’t you feel tired, Universe? You barely have enough energy to go on. So in a while, a shorter while than it realized when it began this whole thing, it won’t. A schedule will click, one known daily by ending worlds and exploding stars and fading, crumbling organic beings. Then the Universe will crunch and fold, keel over and atrophy, cosmic dust spreading like blood, meteors fleeing like vomit, without anyone to notice the end.
How sad. There’ll be no one to hold a funeral for the Universe, no one to ensure that it is in its best clothing, that its hair is slicked back, that it doesn’t look so starved and battered, and that there’s a slight smile that spans from one end of a galaxy to another. Even the smell of formaldehyde will be absent.
We are luckier. We will have friends and family and lovers and children around who will whiff strong, hungry preservative, who will grumble that we didn’t look so prim, and that complain that our smile is crooked. We are born from the Universe, sure. We will die like it, absolutely. But we are not doomed to its loneliness, to its single, final, solitary death.
This is not to say that there is life after this or that we won’t die alone. There may very well be some afterlife, which I’m sure is a comforting thought to the Universe, especially given the fact that it allowed the means for such comforting thoughts. We may also die alone. Unless you are so fortunate to die in a plane crash holding the hand of a person beside you who made good conversation and told you that they are going to see their family for the first time in twenty years and who bought you a drink, a ginger-ale because that’s your favourite and it’s their favourite too and then the plane wing falls off and your ginger-ale spills and so does hers and you grasp on to this person, this stranger, who just eight hours ago you did not know and who now you still don’t know but who may know you more than anyone else in the world for they will see you out of it, then you will die alone. It is the most probable outcome.
I am not suggesting more plane crashes as a leveling statistical fudge factor. Instead, what I am saying is that only the Universe will die by itself. We’ll instead perish alongside a species that tells itself each day that it can’t go on but it does, that has doubts and insecurities, mediations and idiosyncrasies, dogs, cats, men, women, people in between and people who are anything but. Better yet is that this amorphous blob of names we don’t know, could never know will join us later on while the Universe watches jealously and lonesome.
This is all to say, dear, that death will come and when it does, it does. You know this. So do I. But what you don’t know is that this end is the point of life. It is the only one.
I have often said that points are overrated. Look at a circle. It gets along just fine without a corner. The Earth does too.
But life’s meaning – or perhaps its lack thereof – is particularly important to uncover. Everything else is a distraction. At the End with a capital e, there’ll be no more anxiety, no more taxes, no nothing no never.
There’ll be a world without me, a world stagnant, plain. But there will still be those women with the lilacs in their hair and the glasses of milk sitting on a yellow table cloth in a summer’s wave and the people shouting for a taxi or someone or someone else. There won’t be me; only a figment of me contained in every other person’s ideas, their handshakes, and their laughs. I’ll be in their giggle too.
For the meaning of life is this: my death gives life to their death.
This isn’t an original idea, which I’m sure is a fact that should infuriate a writer, but know that this repetition is comforting. I am speaking the words of someone else. We are sharing the same thoughts in different times. Here as I sit on that same day when a Universe may be ending, though I may not know it even if the sun is waving a hello before the goodbye and the air is freeze-drying itself into a powder, I can only help but wonder who she or he said it to. Maybe someone as nice as you.
Because if nothing else, if you do not believe me, if you cannot find a point to this randomness – a product of that same lonely Universe who hungers disorder – then let love in its incompleteness and vagueness and ever-expanding definition be a self-defence against the void. If not, then humour. If not, then me – let me take you away from the insignificance by making you so significant.
For while all may be an accident with no right or wrong, while there may be no truth at all, the truth is that such a thought is a baseless lie of cynicism. The truth is – the stupid, forgettable truth is – that we may die, we may have no meaning, but at least we’ll create meaning of our death together. Who knows, we could be so lucky to die in a plane disaster alongside one another. And if not, at least we’ll have flown somewhere else, somewhere different, and look how incomparable the world looks here, how good the ginger-ale tastes from your breathing, blooming lips.
Love you madly,