Stella wonders what's out there in the vastness of the universe, while the boy behind her won't take a hint...

Created: February 01,2023

“Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are…” Stella hummed as she typed, one eye on the image from the James Webb telescope at the front of the lecture hall.

“They aren’t stars.”

Excuse me?”

“Each of those are galaxies, not just twinkly stars.”

Stella turned to the pug-nosed boy one row back. His well-groomed hair and sweater vest screamed prep.

“I know. The song’s stuck in my head. If you wanna get pedantic, they are just twinkly stars. Billions clumped together.”

He leaned back, losing his smug grin. He’d envisioned his comment as charming and intelligent, a sure way to snag a pretty girl.

“I’m just tryna help,” he muttered. His friend held back a snicker.

Stella turned back to the image. What would you look for with the James Webb telescope? their professor wrote on the board.

Intelligent life, because there sure isn’t any here. She smiled at her dumb joke.

She noticed the mirror image of some galaxies. The gravity bent the light, appearing to make duplicates. It reminded her of something she’d heard. In a finite region of space, there’s a finite number of particles. Eventually, everything repeats. Even this planet, and everything on it, had infinite copies.

Just think, in the universe, eight billion Stellas could be sitting before eight billion entitled brats in eight billion lecture halls.

“Hey, we’re having a party at my fraternity this weekend.” That boy was still talking?

Eight billion of him not getting the hint. Eight billion of her giving him their fakest smile.

“Not even if you were the last eight billion men in the universe,” she grabbed her laptop and left, moving to the back of the hall, away from everyone.

Across the vastness, an infinite number of Stellas sat, sighed, and continued work.

Submitted: October 13, 2022

© Copyright 2023 Guenevere Lee. All rights reserved.

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