“Time” (short story)


The townspeople note the ‘clock shop closing’ sign, the darkened establishment, and think it has to do with batteries, solar energy, or self-winding.

He has been a clock repairer for sixty years; took over the business from his father, who succeeded his father.  Clocks, watches, timepieces; human made, mechanical devices to keep life on time.  People refer to him as an artist with gears, gems, crystals, and movement.  Some would say that as a child he never questioned becoming a purveyor of clocks.  He liked the German bim-bam chime grandfather clock that graced the living room of his parents’ house.  Then, there were many clocks in the house; for time was so noted.  Time to rise, time to eat, time to do your chores and homework, time to go to bed, and, of course, time for resetting, winding the clocks.

However, when he was a young lad he once had an, albeit momentary, doubt about going into the business.  Every child at his elementary school had called him the ‘principal’s principle’, in reference to the wall clock his father had mounted outside the principal’s office.  The principal maintained a “disciplined, on time, no wasted time, educational institution”.  The primary teasers were those who had to sit under that clock when they were sent to the principal’s office for rule infractions.  Yes, he thought about not going into the business; however the family clock love affair called, and there was joy in maintaining works of art.

In his seventeenth year another love affair called his name.  She would willingly share him with the sound of ticking clocks that filled his parent’s house and shop, then one day their house as well.  ‘Something old’ was his grandmother’s 1924 Bulova Lady Maxim.  However, it would not be wrong to say that the sound of love filled their world far louder than the clocks.

For their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary his bride gave him the wristwatch that he has literally wore every day since that moment.  For their fiftieth anniversary she touched the watch and motioned for him to bend down.  He was glad there were no timepieces in the hospital room.  She kissed him goodbye.

Regardless of time, that kiss was too short.

The townspeople note the ‘clock shop closing’ sign, the darkened establishment.  Clocks no longer have a place of joy in his life.  For clocks only remind him of every second he has lived without her.

(Time, is a work of fiction, copyright Steven S. Walsky, August 2014.)


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