Clocks are ticking, ticking…. I’m in the middle of the room, but I can’t see. I can hear myself breathing. Can’t feel. Have only my thoughts, the darkness, and the tick tick ticking….
Something happened, but I don’t know what. One moment driving, the next. . . here, in a room full of ticking clocks. It’s a sign, isn’t it? Of what? About what? What are the ticking clocks supposed to be telling me? That I’m wasting time? That my time is coming to an end? That…time, time, time waits for no one? I start humming the tune to myself, remembering things like that, normal life, listening to tunes, drinking beer, watching television, reading books, driving….
We take things for granted until something like this, then we don’t. But come out of it and soon enough it all fades away and we come back to where we were…taking things for granted again.
I never climbed a mountain, never jumped out of a plane, never went water-skiing, snow skiing, never, goddammit, even made it out of the country (not counting Canada, but that doesn’t really count, does it?) Never did much of anything but went to school, got married, then unmarried, worked at my job, paid my bills, changed my oil every 3500 miles, followed the routines of daily life.
And now there’s nothing to do but think these thoughts. These dried up, worthless thoughts that I can’t do anything about, can’t act on.
Sometimes I feel like I hear voices, like someone’s touching me. But it’s like being in a fog, I’m not sure if it’s real or a dream.
And then the clocks return –tick tock tick tock, and there’s nothing but that, that sound resonating off the walls in this white room I can’t see, the sound, the only sound, the sound that drives me mad, and I wait wait wait…wait for it all to end.
Mitchell’s fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including The Waterhouse Review, Crack the Spine, The Houston Literary Review, The Faircloth Review, Epiphany, Wilderness House Literary Magazine, The Battered Suitcase, and many other magazines and anthologies. He is also the author of the novel, A Face in the Moon, and the story collection, Petty Offenses and Crimes of the Heart (Wind Publications), and serves as Fiction Editor for Blue Lake Review.
For more info, see his website: http://mitchwaldman.homestead.com