The Size of Space

INT. CAR – NIGHT

ANDREW (40) drives along a suburban street at night, his daughter ERIN (12) sits beside him in the passengers seat. Erin looks up through the windscreen at the stars above.

ERIN
Daddy, how big is space?

ANDREW
Umm, well honey, its really, really big.

ERIN
Dad don’t talk to me like I’m a child. I know it’s big, I want to know how big.

ANDREW
Ha, alright. Well you know the sun, it’s actually a star. Which means that all the other stars you see out there are in fact all suns just like our one.

ERIN
But our sun is the biggest star.

ANDREW
No, not even close. There are stars that are hundreds of times bigger than our sun. Our sun is just the closest star to us.

ERIN
Wow. So space is as big as lots of stars?

ANDREW
No, space is even bigger than that. We live in a galaxy called the milky way. Do you know what a galaxy is?

ERIN
Kind of.

ANDREW
Okay, well a galaxy is a system of millions or billions of stars.

ERIN
WHAT! Millions!

ANDREW
Or billions.

ERIN
Woah. I knew there were a lot of stars in the sky but billions! A billion is a lot right?

ANDREW
Yes, sweetie.

ERIN
Dad, I’m a grown up now you don’t need to call me sweetie.

ANDREW
Okay, sweetie. But all the stars you see in the sky are in fact only a tiny fraction of all the stars in our galaxy.

ERIN
We can’t even see all of space!

ANDREW
Nope.

ERIN
Dad, that’s crazy. So space is made up of billions of stars?

ANDREW
Well no, our galaxy is, but there are lots and lots of galaxy’s and some of them are even bigger than ours.

ERIN
What! Dad, that’s not possible. That’s, I mean, that’s…woah.

ANDREW
Yeah, it’s hard to imagine isn’t it?

ERIN|
Yeah, so how many galaxies are there?

ANDREW
Well I don’t think anyone really knows because we can only see a small section of space, even with out best telescopes.

ERIN
So no-one knows how big space is?

ANDREW
Well basically we think it’s infinite, and ever expanding.

ERIN
So it just goes for ever?

ANDREW
I mean, yeah.

ERIN
So in all of space our sun is actually really small?

ANDREW
Yep.

ERIN
And even our galaxy is really small?

ANDREW
Yes.

ERIN
That makes us really, really, really, really small.

ANDREW
Well add a few really’s on there, but yes.

ERIN
And it all keeps going forever, even after we’re dead?

ANDREW
Oh, umm, well…yes.

Erin sits back in her seat as she thinks, her excitement fades. Andrew watches her, concerned. He pulls up in front of their house and then leans over to her, comforting.

ANDREW (CONT’D)
Hey, sweetie, it’s alright. I know it can all be a bit scary when you think about it, but you know, you’re still young, it’s not anything you need to think about.

ERIN
Oh no, that’s not what I was thinking. I was just thinking that with us being so small, and lasting for such a short time that anything we do doesn’t matter. And that there’s something really freeing about that. Because it means if we achieve our dreams or not, or if we make a really bad mistake, that it doesn’t really matter. So there’s no real reason to be stressed or unhappy about anything, especially small things, because it doesn’t matter, like it really doesn’t matter. Which means that all we have to do is just try and be happy and not let things worry us; because if we don’t matter, then our problems certainly don’t.

Erin looks across at her Dad who stares at her stunned and speechless.

ERIN (CONT’D)
And don’t call me sweetie. I told you I’m a grown up now.

Erin gets out of the car and walks towards the front door of the house.

ANDREW
Holy shit!

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