All the Time

November 24, 2009
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Sitting in the cramped and colorless confines of the dimly lit hospital room, watching his chest rise and fall with each labored breath, I listened helplessly to the roaring silence that mocked me as it begged me to consider how permanent that lack of sound could become before the long night's conclusion. The tension born of unspoken words and poorly hidden worry that had earlier charged the air with a crackle of electric current had departed abruptly with the rest of my family; gone home to their lives while I waited behind, afraid I might be the only one left to witness the end of his.

For as long as I could remember I had been the strong one, priding myself on my ability to overcome or ignore emotion and practically confront any situation with a calm head and analytical mind. Up to this point that had been my role in everything that had happened over the past few months, watching from a safe distance as he stubbornly battled the cancer that was cruelly stealing away his life like a stealthy thief on the darkest of nights. But as I sat there, pulling my sweater more tightly around me despite the relative warmth of the small room, I glanced up. What I saw melted the numbness that had frozen my heart for so long, and broke the cold shell of tight self control that I had built up around myself to hide from the world, brusquely tearing away the rigid mask of suppressed feelings that I had so long believed to be an impervious disguise.

The clock I beheld appeared to be like any other clock in every obvious way. Utterly unremarkable, a standard, black and white circle with two hands moving perpetually in a synchronized pattern that was as inescapable and eternal as time itself. As I gazed in consternation at this simple, completely common thing, I was overcome with the inexorable impression that it was trying to tell me something; something more important than anything I had previously learned or ever would come to know. The clock stared back at me with limitless depths of wisdom and sadness in its timeless glare, and spoke to me in a whispering language, every nuance and inflection ringing through my very soul. In a voice that had spanned innumerable centuries and simultaneously embraced the unknown intricacies of fractions of a second, the clock that was so much more than just a redundant timepiece helped me to find peace with time.

The reality was, time would never stop ticking. Never slow down, speed up, take a break, or desert us completely. It is nothing more or less than it ever was, and it will never change, but what we do with it has every power to change us. Never sadistic or manipulative or cruel as the bitter poets cynically portray it; time simply is. It was counting down the last moments of his life, but there was no rush or unnecessary hurry and anxiety, no subtle or malicious act of thievery involved.

I realized then that, just as the clock had taken my hand and gently but firmly shown me truth, so too had I reached out and taken his hand in mine as he lay there in the impenetrable stillness. Now as I gazed down, I saw not the face of a dying man, but the face of time. And as I leaned closer, he opened his eyes slowly and gently whispered, "We have all the time in the world".

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DEMON said...
Dec. 23, 2009 at 4:17 pm
Ah, but I can be truthful when I sing that "All The Time" is what I have been seeking from young writers! Wonderful, sad, and well written! Florida, you have potential...rave or rant about my own writing in...
Wisps of smoke danced into the wintry air from my lips, creating ornate designs that could never be replicated. I carefully tilted the corners of my lips into a smile that I meant to be wry. Of course, it's difficult to articulate... (more »)
DEMON said...
Dec. 23, 2009 at 4:14 pm
Her lovely green eyes shifted into hard emeralds.
“What do you know about me, Dare? And what’s so wrong with having dreams? And why are you talking to me like that? I was simply commenting on the sunset.” She tossed her red curls, clearly miffed.
I lifted my chin, and blew smoke in her face. It was easier on me when she was angry. I don’t know why she bothered with me. Why she was brave enough to confront ... (more »)
adamina said...
Dec. 21, 2009 at 5:52 pm
wow, that made me so sad! Great piece
OnyxDivine This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 19, 2009 at 7:34 pm
You set a nice mood with the descriptions, nice choice of words, and I love the message at the end. Because "time waits for no man", its what we do that really changes everything.
Keep up the good work :)
gogreen420 said...
Dec. 18, 2009 at 7:35 pm
I love this story. It's beautifully written. Wonderful job.
wishing4thebest2day said...
Dec. 14, 2009 at 9:09 pm
I started reading it then I was hooked. It was so real and alive. I was there watching this unfold. This is one of the best pieces of writing I'd read. Keep writing! :)
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