I stood there for a while then frowned. These weren’t the kinds of things I usually thought about. Who gives a damn about “the spaces between stars” and all that other crap? Earth is weird enough, bleak enough, beautiful enough that most folks don’t need to obsess over space. So what if they want to or they don’t, if they come to the observatory to look through the telescope or to picnic on its lawn? Let people live their lives, common or not. Let them do as they like without being forced to consider their insignificance or their greatness. Most people have a rudimentary understanding of their place in the universe anyway.
I scratched my arm. The buzzing in my head grew louder, like it was trying to drown out my thoughts. I shook my head, waved my hand before my face as if I were trying to disperse a swarm of insects.
For a moment, I had peace, clarity. I saw my surroundings for what they were: an empty museum under a darkening urban sky, marble and tile and drywall, modern lightbulbs in rewired ancient fixtures.
I blinked, making sense of the information my eyes and my ears were giving me? Darkening sky? Empty museum? I glanced down at my watch and saw that it was well into the evening, that the summer sun was retreating behind the hills and mountains that surrounded the city.
It had been the middle of the afternoon when I’d entered the museum and began walking around. I’d lost nearly three hours in the space of a single thought.