Dispatch From Infinity

by Hilary McCreery, Contributor

I will never forget the first grade science lesson when Mrs. Fisher unrolled a map of planets and explained evenly, “There are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on the earth.”

I had no concept of infinity until this moment and my own personal potential suddenly felt fatal, but also dignified, as if I realized, in that moment, that life was noble because it was rare.

Sixth grade, Mr. Mullins dictated how utterly insignificant a human life span was in context to the billions of years the universe had existed before us and would continue to exist after us.

I traced my name in the margin of my notebook and felt finite, grounded by the concept. Nothing endures, I thought, and was relieved.

Cut to the present, which is fossilizing, a cornerstone for things to come. I know now how to chart progress and measure what matters, and it looks like this:

1.) My sister sends me a memory book with a light-blue leather cover, thick white pages and gold embossed lettering- the colors of heaven. I write things down as they occur and am surprised when time does not slow down to appease the pace of the pages.

2.) B and I stay up late planning a trip to Las Vegas. We trace the boulevard in our mind and book our flight and hotel room, counting down seven weeks to when our summer will begin. I can already imagine the way the heat will blur the horizon and how the nights will flicker but never go out entirely.

3.) My mother calls to tell me about the doves hatching in the nest outside her kitchen window. She watches them for weeks and e-mails me when the last one leaves the nest for good. She is heartbroken.

4.) “Know your worth,” an old professor tells me and it feels weighted, as if everything she has ever taught me has vaporized and risen up into this single ether between us. Her hair is long and the serious expression she wears is comforting because it is familiar. I breathe deeply, but do not know how to reply.

5.) In a dream, I reunite with a friend in a coffee shop after many years apart. At this point, I have a daughter with hair the color of autumn. At this point, my hands stay steady when I speak my mind. When I wake up, I try to bridge the years between now and the moment in my dream, but can’t imagine ever getting there.

All this time, which unravels at a speed that is constant. I can’t apologize for its passing because it’s fluid if wasted – hours into sand into stars and back again.



  1. So beautiful

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LANDFILLS is a grassroots literary, arts and culture online collective based in Chicago. All work is original, except the featured images that accompany text posts (which are blatantly stolen from tumblr.com). Complaints should be directed to Po via Twitter.
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