Time: The Tragedy of the Rest of Us

When I was a young girl, I used to stare at the round clock hung in the wall of our home and thought that its hands never got tired of ticking. At age six, I still did not know how to read the clock and it was only after a year when I entered elementary that I learned how to. Hence, at the early years of my childhood, the object that made all the others around me work with frantic toils was nothing but a round piece of plastic ornament I was fond of watching round and round. I would sit on the floor and stare up at the round wall clock a few meters above me, waiting for the shortest hand to move, but never once did I catch it doing so. It was so unfair that the shortest hand of the clock never moved while I was watching, but when I got home from the all day’s playing, the hand was not anymore in the same place it was when I left.

Sometimes, I would ask my mother why it never moved when I was around, and she would tell me that it moved but I wasn’t able to see it because it stirred only a tiny fraction. After all, it was the “hour hand” of the clock, it was supposed to move slower than the other hands. Failing to understand what she meant, I would ask her why they never stopped going in circles. And she would tell me that it was because the clock had batteries. Of course, I knew what she meant by batteries, but what I was trying to tell her was that, for me, the seemingly interminable feat of going in circles was senseless, and at the same time, sad.

When I was in the second grade, I finally learned how to read the clock. And until now, I’m not really sure if I learned it quite later than the other kids. Apparently, the clock determines the “time” of the day. And the numbers from one to twelve determined the hours of the day. Reading the clock required simple arithmetic, which at that time, was not my best strength. Hence, I would read it along with the effort of counting each and every lines in between the numbers. After a few more practice, I could stare at it and know what “exactly” is the right hour and minute. And to me, it became more than just a plastic ornament I was watching round and round. In fact, it was not anymore senseless, but I still found it sad –almost nostalgic.

But kids don’t stay as naïve as I was when I was six. As days gone by, we become more matured individuals capable of thinking in a more rational manner than we were when we were little boys and girls.

Hence, as years passed, I also built a new interpretation of it, perhaps it was the result of reading too much historical fiction, watching too much movies, or maybe just having too much chances to think. Time became an animated entity to me, not merely a set of numbers stuck inside the premise of a deranged plastic ornament, but an alive being that’s watching with his own two eyes the people that come and go, including me. It seemed so alive that every time I think about it, I couldn’t help but imagine a tarnished background painted in old gold like of those faded photographs my late grandmother would display in our humble living room when I was young; stuck in between the generations that had passed and the generations that were yet to come. Sad, nostalgic, and alone.

But it seemed that people do not view this old being in the same way I do. Some of them act as if time was their unlimited chances of possibilities, something that would never betray them. For others, time was a limited promo they almost always need to grab whenever they can; for them, it was always running out.

            Yet, above all these, time was an offended entity chased by humans all the days of their lives, and yet none of them had succeeded to live long enough to stay by its side. It circled the world from the beginning of humanity, until now and in the years to come, like the hands of the clock that never got tired of going round and round.

            Perhaps, it was his punishment. And perhaps, he was our punishment too.

 

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