Thursday, 4 June 2015

Nothing Happens in Space

Everything seemed futile to Greta today. There were only three petri-dishes left out of the three hundred she had arranged to undergo experimentation and therefore if these three didn’t show any signs of morphing, a non-technical term she liked to use to inform others of any slight observable transformation, well then, her research was simply, fucked. Three out of three hundred is 1% she thought. 

Her research assistant Gregor tried to look busy with a microscope. Greta knew too well it stared out over nothing, microscopically enhancing the abyss of another dead petri-dish she thought; he was slender and nervous and reminded her of unusable dripping pipettes. How could her calculations have gone so awry in real life? She berated herself tapping her fingers on the sideboard of the sink and went out through the swinging department doors.

Clipping her heels on the corridor and high-tailing it down the cold stone stairs, Greta leaves the building and makes it across the lawn to sit beneath a tall oak tree. It is June and the temperature perfect for human inhabitation she thinks, the warm breeze may even be considered soothing. Sitting, pondering over her thesis rubbing her hands like a stalk cleaning his beak on its wings, she senses someone there. 

‘Hello, Roger’, it sounds pitiful though it was meant to come out neutral. 

‘What’s the matter?’ Aloof and kind, Roger was a fellow scientist from the Physics Department where Greta rarely had meetings.

She sighed, said nothing and apologised without cause stating her research was not going so well and she was about to go upstairs to find out how badly it had all gone. Roger stooped and sat down on the other side of the trunk.

‘Do you know after the big bang the universe continued to expand for the next million years or so without anything much happening?’ Greta was about to leave but couldn’t because his words offered something she wanted: unpromising consolation. 

‘A million years of nothing happening, Greta, under who’s watchful eye? No scientist. Not us. Or so assumed. We must sometimes suffer the circumstances of space where nothing seems to happen when we watch it closely. Break attention for a moment then you’ll miss a miracle.’

With this ominous and profoundly unscientific thesis, Greta crossed back the lawn looking up curiously at her laboratory window.