What Matters

By Isaac Yuen

May 15, 2017

What Matters

Thursday is "Cosmic Night" at the space centre. I am waiting for three friends by the giant crab outside. The late George Norris designed the twenty-foot sculpture. Stainless steel pincers grasp for the sky. 

Inside on folding tables, Ritz crackers, cubed cheese, three forms of sausage. I snack and stroll through exhibits from the '90s highlighting space exploration since the '60s. The vacuum simulator is under refurbishment. I laugh as Masha maps her face onto an alien with crooked teeth. Overhead, fiberglass satellites orbit a Saturn V rocket engine. A quarter-million tons of thrust. For moon dreams. 

Dark matter is the evening’s theme. People post sticky notes on what they think it is: 

Kirk's ego 
                                 Cthulhu Slime



The resident astronomer explains what scientists know thus far. 

Dark matter is something we can’t sense but makes up a quarter of the universe. 

Dark energy is a placeholder term for most of the remaining three-quarter. 

The rest–-the smoked gouda I’m still tasting, the sun setting fire to the mountains outside, Alp nodding off beside me–-the rest five percent matters. 

Afterwards, Hakan and I head for a nightcap. I nurse my Hoegaarden while he waxes philosophic about perception, purpose, the void; Our usual chats, post-divorces. We head out just after midnight, stumble-drunk. 

“Dude, I’m nothing without others. Nothing!” 

I walk home alone under Betelgeuse, a dying star that may explode, or may be in the midst of exploding, or may have already exploded. A small twinkling thing.

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