The Thing About Time

December 11, 2011
“The thing about time is that even though it is an indefinite measurement, there never seems to be enough of it.”
--

There was a time, a time long, long before this whole mess, when he heard those words. He remembered hearing her saying them so surely, as if she had known he would need to pocket them for later. He remembered the way she was walking on the curb, one foot placed haphazardly in front of the other, both arms spread out like an eagle, just waiting to soar. He remembered the way he was walking cautiously next to her, just waiting to catch her, just waiting to hold her hand. And he remembered the way he looked at her after she said those words, as if she were a mystery, a puzzle waiting to be solved.

--


“There’s no way,” he proclaimed, shaking his head at the doctor.

“I’m sorry,” the doctor told him. His words were sympathetic, his eyes pitying, as he looked at his patient.

“I mean,” he started, “there’s like a way to prevent it, right?”

The doctor stared at him.

“Chemo, or something?” he elaborated. “I mean, there’s gotta be something.”

The doctor nodded. “We’ll try.” But it might not work.

--

They say that before death, your whole life flashes in front of your eyes. He could deem this statement to be false. Because at the moment, in that hospital, with that monitor slowing down each second, all he saw was an empty room, and all he heard were her words resounding over and over like the beat of a drum.

“The thing about time is that even though it is an indefinite measurement, there never seems to be enough of it.”

He had never considered himself to have an extraordinary memory. But death, it seems, obscures everything. Because now, he could remember every significant and insignificant thing she had said and done. And she was right, he thought. Ella was always right. There wasn’t enough time.

There were so many things he had yet to do. He wanted to go to college and be teacher. He wanted to visit every continent. He wanted to learn the alphabet backwards. He wanted to hold her hand one more time.

But in his last moment, in that hospital, with that monitor almost silent, the only hand he had to hold was his own.





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