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The Clock This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   It broke first in the upper left hand corner, and then split diagonally down the middle. Two mammoth pieces of glass fell to the sun-heated wooden floors and shattered immediately. A small multi-faceted glass kernel rolled until it hit the wall and then rocked to a halt. I looked down at the unbelievably priceless mess at my feet. A shaky shriek rose slowly from the hollow walls of my stomach up through my clenching throat, to come out of my mouth as a mere high-pitched whimper. My pulse quickened with the exertion of my utterance and I clutched the cold wall for support. The irreplaceable value of my mother's clock encompassed my thoughts, and I was filled with fear. It had been a gift, given to her by her father three months before he died.

My mother's childhood lacked much, principally affection from her father. He had spent most of his life heating up Campbell's soup, playing solitaire on the kitchen table, and raising his son. He retreated from this rigorous lifestyle to their cold yet cozy cellar, where he restored antique clocks. He produced splendid machines which ticked in every corner of the musty room, far away from the rest of the sunny, warm house.

My mother visited her parents in Maine three months before her father died. The day she left, he gave her the oldest and most beautiful clock in his collection. The glass window was painted a wonderful dark green with a border of thin, ribbon-like gold leaf, which lead up to a delicate round face.

The dark glass sat now, inanely askew, and the only sound was that of my short, escaping breaths. I had been happily amusing myself, leaping gracefully towards the mirror at one end of the hallway, then running, on my toes, backwards, to the end with the standing clock. I had repeated the process two or three times before I flung my head back (about to leap) and broke the thin glass of the clock.

Now, as I heard my mother drop something in the shower, I jumped and began pivoting back and forth next to the glass. To calm myself, my hands reached down to the ground at my sides and I closed my eyes, hoping to see an answer between the flashing black and red dots. What could I do? I could go to my room and wait for her to find the atrocity and then ban me from the house for a year, or I could tell her the minute she was done with her shower and watch her angry face contort as she heard my terrifying words of truth. The choices were dim, and as my eyes caught sight of a small glass chip, I ran into my room and sat down heavily at my desk. I looked around, but my body tightened as the image of the shattered glass filled my room. I cringed, picturing my mother's eyes opening wide after first hearing my news, and then slanting and curving and rolling in all different directions as the knowledge set in. Instinctively, hoping perhaps that it had put itself back together, I ran back to the clock and felt myself get hot with fear and tears.

I would face it. I would tell her and take responsibility for what I had done instead of running away. I bit my lip, anticipating my mother's reaction, and let a small amount of tension out through my throat. My tremulous voicing of the simple word "Mom" was met by my mother's crisp and cheerful, "Yes, honey?" What was left of my stomach doubled over and rose into my throat as I gave a long outward breath, so as not to choke on too much air. My feet pressed harder to the floor with each step, as I walked cautiously into my mother's room and saw her coming briskly towards me from the bathroom door. Her eyebrows raised when she saw me as if to say, "Yes?" At that moment the kind and understanding face of my mother turned into the stark white and menacing face of the clock. Her tanned and comfortable body covered in a terrycloth robe turned into the cold and hollow glass of the high standing clock, moments before it was broken. I clutched my eyes together with my sweaty hands to shut out the image, and said, with a whimper, "I broke your clock." n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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