The Girl in the Clock

by mandaceehb

There once lived a girl who resented time. She loved night and darkness, yet time had to evolve it into light and day. Everything she had, she could never hold on to because eventually, time would take it away. Time was a complicated entity she never understood. For its ways she could not understand, she hated time.

What she didn’t know though, was that time would make her understand.

She awoke to a different world, one of wood and glass. A repeated ticking sound unnerved her greatly, as numbers surrounded her in a dizzying confusion. No one heard her; no one saw her. A clock stood in her place.

She had never been so afraid, enclosed within her greatest foe. Her hand rested on the cool glass face as she peered out into the unchanging world, each rigid movement of hands ever so slow. It was ironical that within a clock, she had lost her own sense of time. She had never realised that time had a life of its own.

With each tick of the clock; each view out of the glass face, she saw a different scene. An old lady breathing her last breath as a long beeping sound ensued. A man driven to insanity by his failing career and broken family. She was enraged as her eyes pooled with angry tears. These things would not have happened if time had stopped at the happiest moments in everybody’s lives, granting us joy forever. Time was cruel, to make us suffer pain and loss; dejection and devastation.

This sinking sadness should have been enough to make her look away, and yet she couldn’t, because the scene outside had changed again. She saw a man and his wife, the image of unparalleled joy as they cradled a newborn infant in their loving embrace. She saw an old man celebrating his ninetieth birthday with filial children and young grandchildren over a simple homemade dinner, and she heard him think to himself that this was all he ever wanted his children to be in life. As she watched, her heart swelled with warmth and happiness.

For the first time, she began to doubt her beliefs. Was this joy a product of time? Did time make all these happenings possible? She glanced up at the looming numbers above her, as the ticking sound reverberated in her ears. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve…

Twelve numbers. She saw twelve numbers. Clearly, she had always known that a clock showed twelve numbers on its face, but it was her own blindness that startled her. It was as if all along, she had only chosen to see six numbers. She had only chosen to see what she liked, what she wanted, what she believed. She had convinced herself that time was a villain, even though it was not.

In awe, she stood up and swept her hand over the shadow of dust that had clouded half of the clock’s face. The picture came to her in full focus, and she understood.

She understood time.