Matter (Short Story)
The center of the Big Bang was packed, quarks pressed against me on all sides. I was intimately familiar with my neighbors who were intensely irritating, waving their flimsy electrons in my personal space. When the bang finally happened I was taking a nap and got a horrible fright as titanic energy hurled me outwards at near light speed. On the bright side, I finally had room to breath but when things settled down it felt a bit awkward floating around in a hot soupy mass with loads of molecules I didn’t know. They were terribly rude, constantly bumping into me, every one of them the same shape and weight with that one tiny electron. I conveniently ignored the fact I also had one electron, it was nice sitting on my high horse and my superiority was proven when I crashed into someone and suddenly I had 2 electrons and a bunch more protons and neutrons. I obviously set a trend because they all started copying me. It took a few billion years but eventually there where atoms with 4, 5 even 6 electrons. The variety was pretty astounding.
I’d floated about 65 billion lightyears from my original home when I noticed a bunch of us had gathered together and things where starting to heat up again. It reminded me of the good old days before the Big Bang when everyone was close. We must have started another trend because I saw a bunch of bright spots in the dark sky light up over the next few years. I loved looking at the other stars and luckily that distraction stopped me from noticing when it got a bit weird in my star. I found myself with not 2 but 15 electrons. Can you believe it, it had got so hot and crowded in my star I had merged with a bunch of other atoms.
I tried to befriend the nearby stars but they were terribly boring, all they did was burn helium. That was a pretty lonely time for me. A bunch of the stars began to explode off in the distant night sky and I’m ashamed to admit when I felt it happening to myself I didn’t try to resist. As the last of my helium burnt out I collapsed under the pressure of my own gravity causing an explosion which sent parts of me soaring into the night sky.
It was good to get out and about again, I set my sights on a swirling mess of star debris and settled into one of the fronds spinning around a massive black hole. I tried joining another star but my aim was off and I shot past it getting caught in its gravity. It was a little embarrassing until I realized a bunch of others had made the same mistake. We gathered together smashing into each other with glee until we formed a nice round shape with me at the center. It got a little hot and most of my iron liquified and began to spin nice and lazily creating a magnetic field. A slightly smaller planet formed not too far away and I found myself smiling, it was nice to have a new friend.
I got pretty sleepy over the next couple of hundred million years and cooled off so much that I formed a nice crust on my surface interrupted by the occasional volcano belching out my iron and other bits and pieces. All sorts of weird things started to happen on my surface, in a small hot pool one morning a bunch of organic molecules began replicating. It kind of grossed me out but I kept doing it none the less and in no time I was a bacterium with a cell membrane and little tail. It was so much fun swimming around and I had the insatiable urge to reproduce all the time. I created a bunch of replicas of myself then the old me shriveled up and disintegrated. New me’s swarmed all over the place making more me’s. I got really nostalgic when a few of me’s started working real close and created a multi-cell organism which sort of floated in the water soaking up sunlight and pumping out oxygen. I’ll be honest, all this reproduction got a little repetitive over the years but I couldn’t stop. In no time I was out of the water walking on 4 legs covered in fur with eyes and ears and a strange appendage I decided to call a nose.
I can’t count the number of times I was eaten but I got very familiar with digestive organs. All that squidging and squirting is pretty embarrassing until you experience it for the trillionth time. Getting eaten was not very pleasant but I always enjoyed it when an embryo formed around me and I found myself back on 4 legs wondering around. Just as I was getting used to 4 legs I found myself on 2 legs and my brain got a whole lot smarter. I bought a house and married a girl called Jenny. We loved each other so much I cried for a long time when she died. I’ll never forget that memory no matter how many millennia pass since Jenny’s atoms returned to dust.
Its been a long time and the universe is quiet and dark. They say heat death is peaceful but I just say its damn cold. Its been a good journey, I hope I get to do it again.