It was often late at night, (or it felt like it was late at night to a seven year old), when we drove back home from our grandparents’ house. I remember sitting in the back seat of the car, my brother sleeping in his seat next to me, as I rested my head against the cold glass of the window and stared upwards at the night sky, counting the stars above my head, feeling as though I would soon reach a finite number; a conclusion.
I remember the quiet of the motorway on those nights, the occasional car would zoom by, interrupting my counting, reminding me we weren’t alone. And then I would be back in the car, hearing the hushed voices of my parents in the front seats, and without realising it, I would count the stars again, back to the beginning. 1. 2. 3… Starting again and again and again.
And as I counted, my thoughts would wander to the size of the stars, and the Universe, and the Earth. I would suddenly feel frightened at how small I was, and the thought that the world and the Solar System and the Universe were all too big for me to grasp, too big for me to ever be able to understand. Then I would remember I was supposed to be counting. And I would start again, counting the stars – thinking that soon, I would reach the end.