I am.

As I wander through space and time, reveling in the grasp of the infinite visions of parallel universes pulsating before my sight, I wondered to myself, “Was this worth it? Was there ever any meaning at all to what I had done?”

I transported myself to the surface of a large star some twenty billion light years away. As I walked upon its bright facade, admiring the dancing pulses of heat and radiation, I began to ponder about my own existence. It was during a period of great meditation that I preferred to resign myself to beautiful, and often hostile, environments, as it gave me peace of mind. Nothing else could be there except myself.

Amidst the flares and the coronas, I planted a seed of thought within my head. Existence itself has no meaning. There never was, and there never will be. Purpose and meaning is synthetic; it is something designed to sugarcoat the fact that we are all meaningless beings inhabiting a small region in the vast expanses of the perpetually-expanding universe, whose boundaries we will most likely never be able to explore, let alone see.

It has been almost three billion years since humanity wiped itself out. Nothing was spared, not even the culture or legacy. Of course, small articles of past civilizations still exist up to this day. Old graffiti on ruins, tattered homes, fallen monuments. There is not much left, and virtually no one to remember or recognize the existence of such articles.

Do I find it sad? I say nay.

The death of a concept, you see, is no more relevant to the universe than a dog’s perspective to the internal workings of the finest, most complex timepiece a human brain could ever conceive. Perhaps even the death of anything: ideas, cultures, people, homes, emotions, it is all irrelevant. Petty ideology-infused concepts, tangible or essential, it doesn’t matter, and it never has. Perhaps nihilism is the one truth that has rung straight even if the now-extinct human societies refused to accept it, labeling it as a pessimistic approach to life.

I stood up, levitating myself into space, as I bid the mesmerizing luminescence of the star farewell.

During the last days of life on Earth, during which there was a pitiful semblance of organization at the grassroots level, I managed to establish meaningful conversations with the last of the inhabitants. One of them was a thirteen-year old girl. Her name was Three. I asked her why such a name, and it was because her mother believed that the number three was a lucky number. Wasn’t it supposed to be seven?

It didn’t matter. But having talked with Three, I had observed that she did not think like everyone else. She knew the truth behind existence, the same truth I had stumbled upon when I began to explore the cosmos. Three had this blank, thousand-yard stare in her eyes, as if she had seen everything and yet thought nothing of it. Like a weary, battle-exhausted soldier, whose eyes stared back at the empty vastness of the observable universe.

Three affectionately called me “Mister Star”, and I found it a most suiting moniker. We would often walk early in the morning, and we would talk about her hobbies and her friends, while I would occasionally surprise her with small magic tricks. To anyone else, it would have been a cheap illusion, but to that girl, whose eyes widened at the sight of dancing pillars of light, it meant the world. Frankly, in an environment of scarceness and ruins, there was not much entertainment to be had.

Three’s favorite food, perhaps, was mushroom soup. She and a couple of other young individuals would head to the forest, pick their daily harvest of mushrooms and return home to a haphazard convergence of makeshift homes with the smiling faces of their parents. By night, plumes of smoke would fill the air as flames served to illuminate their small villages, seated amongst roofless, gutted buildings.

Days before the rest of humanity ceased to exist, I gave Three a parting gift. It was a simple wristwatch, and I made it so that it never stopped ticking, continuously running on dark matter. She did not know how to wear one, so I personally slipped it on to her wrist, and secured it so that it would not bob or wiggle around. She embraced me, but I was unable to feel anything physically; I had been so for several million years now. But despite the lack of external stimulus, I felt, for the first time in such a long amount of time, a small sense of satisfaction, which is equivalent to how animals, including humans, would interpret as happiness. And a genuine happiness it was.

Three told me that she would use her watch to count down the last days of Earth. I watched as a large asteroid rushed past the atmosphere, its front burning a vivid, bright orange before finally striking the planet itself. The explosion was spectacular, disintegrating the Earth into large chunks of dull rock. The very concept of destruction itself was natural; it did not have to mean that it was good or bad. I neither enjoyed nor felt despair at destruction, or even creation. It did not have to mean anything. Anything then, does not have to mean anything.

Over the course of a billion years, my actions have dulled and I have been idle. Having traveled countless galaxies, and having seen and experienced the wonders of the universe, I decided to travel across all dimensions, all the way up to the tenth. The last possible dimension, where everything and anything, and thus nothing, is happening simultaneously. Perhaps, it was time to restart, and maybe even do things differently this time.

Gaining a tachyonic pace, I sped to before anything ever existed. A special, might I call it, paradoxical case of existing in inexistence, a feature unique to the eleventh dimension. It was absolutely dark and empty, a void of total nothingness, including dark matter. In a state like this, I carefully created an Event Horizon surrounding myself, so as not to blip into nonexistence. I may have just violated the deepest laws of physics, or perhaps, despite the longevity of my existence, had yet to learn all about it.

I waited for the first expansion of the known universe, and it was spectacular. Meaningless, of course, but spectacular nonetheless. Everything does not have to have meaning, even if ultimately, there is none. You just exist. You become. You are. Even if I choose to “do” things differently this time, nothing will alter the outcome of meaninglessness. We are all just a cosmic coincidence.

I shall now watch and marvel as the stars and the planets form around me for billions upon billions of years. Did I feel, then, that I was going to be in another cycle of existence, of creation and destruction for an unimaginably long amount of time? Perhaps. Maybe what has kept me so long after what has been the longest amount of time, is that I’ve lost a sense of humanity, or perhaps the ability to sympathize with that sense. I no longer feel, but simply exist like the universe itself.

I am.