It was the Almighty himself who’d put the watch in her hand. Way back when she was still her daddy’s Tater-Tot. He had looped the golden chain around her wrist and smiled. “Have fun,” he said.
As she lay in her crib, the soothing tick-tick-ticking put her at peace. “There’s no need to hurry through this,” God had told her, “take your time and choose wisely.”
There was wisdom in His words. Even then, as a wee nub, she knew this. However, there’s a certain amount of frustration in childhood as it appears to be without end.
“Let’s get this choo-choo rolling,” she said.
And so it goes. Having so much time ahead of her and having been born full of ambition, she set God’s words aside and focused her attention on her tomorrows and her future success in the world. She waited. “Good things come to those who wait…or something like that,” she told herself.
Her days passed with insignificance and barely a nod. She never looked back. Great things were on the horizon. Change was in the air.
In the time before she was allowed to make her own decisions, time crawled. The second hand of the watch took ages to count off a single minute. Sometimes she would shake the watch and tap the dial. Sometimes she would look away and count the ticks in her head, but, nothing helped.
Any direct attention waged on the watch only served to slow time further.
Though each tick brought her closer to her future, she was eager for the days to pass; to see what wonders lay ahead. She was anxious for her life to start. Anxious for the day when everything would fall into alignment and rainbows would line her path. She focused her attention on the distance, searching the skyline for telltale signs of coming success. Change was in the air.
Now and then, she would look at her shiny watch and smile the smile of the hopeful. “Any minute now,” she’d say. “Perhaps, tomorrow.” She would force herself to sleep and do away with the boring day, at hand. Another day done.
The ticks in the watch moved everything forward slow and steady. For years, her future danced in the distance just beyond her reach. She could nearly make out the shape of it. A silhouette, stark against the bright background of things to come.
What would it be? Fame? Fortune? She could hardly wait. Change was in the air.
Often, she would look at her watch and grimace. “Hurry! What are you waiting for? Where is my future?” She shifted the weight of want and waiting on her shoulders with a shrug. “Maybe, tomorrow. Perhaps, tomorrow.”
Then, tomorrow came. Tomorrow and tomorrows. They came swiftly and many at once. Suddenly, there wasn’t enough time in a day. They came in a hurry. So many they bled into one seamless stretch of tomorrow and the next day and the day after.
They brought with them a failed marriage and broken hearts; untamed children and crisis. Redundant cycles of sickness and health, gain and loss, and several struggles for sanity.
The pressure of time strangled her soul and crushed her spirit.
The crystal on the watch became scratched and chipped in all the hustle and bustle. The watch chain, tarnished and worn in her worried grip, bore testimony to her eternal impatience and the indifference of time. Now, however, the ticks on the face — each a representation of time wasted — had moved closer together.
The second hand, a mindless, heartless sword sliced around the dial and cut through time as though it were sun softened butter. Each tick lost to the past was quickly buried in regret. Time was slipping away in her desperate quest for better days. Another day done.
She shoved her life off to one side to make room for tomorrow. Burning bridges and crumbling relationships darkened her past, but, disheveled as it was, it was nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a well-placed rainbow. And, there would be rainbows-a-plenty when her ship came in. There was still room for everything to come into alignment.
Change was in the air. Change was always in the air. She refused to back.
She held the watch tighter, willing it to slow down. A few hours of sleep, and tomorrow would arrive. A new day. Things would be better. Another day done.
Tomorrow brought the death of a child. A wound too deep to fathom. And time — Well, time finally slowed down. Time crept along nearly unmoving. The ticks on the face became a series of searing, soul-wrenching agonies.
Each tick, an insufferably long reminder that she was still alive and she was alone. She could not bear to look back. She could not bear to look forward.
Time trudged on. More tomorrows came — wet, tear-soaked tomorrows — but no rainbows ever formed. She wailed pitifully and threw her watch to the floor. “How long am I to grieve? Possibly, tomorrow. Perhaps, tomorrow. Maybe, tomorrow my time will come.” Change was in the air.
Eventually, time was taken away from her. It no longer belonged to her, it was all borrowed. At some point, she’d lost track of it. Sickness and the tease of death now demanded her time. A spring or a thingamajig somewhere deep within the watch had broken. The second hand no longer traveled the face of the timepiece but jumped back and forth in place; caught on some snag of festering bitterness. She held the watch tightly, white-knuckled and sweaty. God had told her to choose wisely. She wished he’d been more specific.
She looped one end of the watch chain over a dream she once had, a dream of better days, days when time was on her side. The other end, she tied around her neck. She had come too far to look back now.
Change was in the air. She shuffled to the edge of it all and leaped into her future.
Her legs kicked and danced and tread the air as the last of her seconds ticked away. Her life flickered and dimmed. Her future had arrived. A lifeless silhouette hung in time, stark against a bright tapestry of the unseen rainbows of her past.