The Amber of the Moment

A dream sits heavy in my head. I’ve had two cigarettes without getting up to pee. I really have to pee. It’s one of those mornings.

My third alarm goes off.

“Oh, die. Just die,” I tell the alarm. It only sings. I tap the snooze.

“Why can’t time just stop for, like, just a few hours? Only a few. I’d give anything,” I moan, closing my eyes against the morning.

“I bet if you add up all the minutes you’ve spent bitching in your life it’d add up to at least a couple hours,” a light voice muses. I open my eyes.

A girl sits at the end of my bed. She is pale and hairless. Wings of countless clock hands lay across her back. They touch my toes. It tickles. I jerk my feet up and sit, staring.

“Who the hell are you?”

She turns. Her eyes are made of gears; one slightly smaller than the other. She smiles.

“No, wait. I can actually tell you that.” The girl screws up her face. “Ninety-one hours thirty-seven minutes, four seconds, and, well, you wouldn’t understand the rest. That is above average dear.”

“What?”

“The amount of time,” she smiles, “you’ve spent griping about not having enough time. And while we’re on this topic, anything? Really? Okay, I’ll make you a deal. I’ll give you two more hours’ rest and you can give me your eyes. How’s that?”

“I-uh—” I say.

“Thought not, not like I can do that anyways. But, you get my point. You’re a smart boy. Bit of a sad sack, but, who can help that?”

She giggles.

“Who—“

“Who am I? Time, of course.”

“Wh—“

“Why am I here? I was just flying by and heard you whining and thought I’d give you a start. How’d I do?”

I rub my hands into my face, hard. Time begins humming to herself.

“You know, I never get why people are always asking me for things. I mean, what makes you think I understand things any better than you do? Do you know why, not how, but why your heart beats? Hm?”

“I—uh, I…”

“Mhm, thought not. Or how about why your fingers move the way they do. Or why the sound of oceans waves is pleasing to your ears. Or why the smell of a woman and bacon both, are equally enticing to your nose?”

I shake my head slowly.

“I mean, what would you tell your fingers if they suddenly started asking why you can’t just bend them the other way around for, like, just a few hours?”

Time leans forward.

“I know!” she says, crawling up the bed as she speaks.

“You’d probably tell them,” her wings drag along on either side of her,

“I can’t. That’s just how things are,” She is so close, our noses touch. Her breath is cold.

“Please stop asking. I’ve got shit to do,” she whispers.

She kisses me softly where my lips meet my cheek. She lays her head down on my chest. The clock-hands of her wings quiver and twitch. She taps my chest and hums.

“Tick-tock, tick-tock. Why little heart? Why do you beat so? You don’t know, do you?”

Time sighs.

“Poor little heart,” she whispers. She sits up. She tilts her head sideways and looks at me. My alarm starts singing from my bedside table. She frowns at it.

“Poor little heart,” she says, and vanishes.

 

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13 comments

    • I’m glad you liked it. I really enjoyed writing it. Her character just stuck in my head and I couldn’t get it out. The title comes from a Kurt Vonnegut quote: “Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • I like it even better now! And it was a pretty memorable piece, overall, I’ll say. I enjoyed her character from start till end – very alive and vivid, she was. And the amber metaphor for time is always so, so brilliant – here too! 🙂

        Like

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