All his shifts being mornings and afternoons, with no nights included on the roster, winter was the only time he saw night sky at Swanwick station. The summers were daylight blazing even at half past five after his ride directly from the south. Not that direction matters more than the season but the repetition of his attending work mirrored the way the seasons turned, and as for direction, it could be said in truth, that he had none. None that is in any conventional sense. Ambition, career, hope were as strangers, but not the night sky, where direction had one clear purpose: to point towards the end of the universe and imagine our place within it, this blue ball bobbing like a buoy in an ocean of space. He'd heard of a US farmer who'd burnt down his farm to harvest the insurance and had spent the cash on a telescope. The farmer got a job at a country railroad station to spend his nights scanning and splitting the stars. So out he went and bought a telescope too to see if Orion's upright stance was more poetic than it's Midwest posture, recumbent at dawn. He climbed the bridge to be closer to the stars and holding his scope like a broom he swept the sky clear of the litter in his mind, seeking not an answer to what life is but to gain a feeble grasp on what it means to sit like this on a tiny speck of dust spinning silently and alone. One night he thought for a moment that he'd seen further than he ever knew you could. It may have been a trick of light, a platform lamp's rays caught in the current of his sight but, for a second, split like a star in a lens, he thought he spied right to the edge of time. For there, legs astride as his, head huddled over a glass, stood an apparition like himself, staring back, searching through space.