The Clock

The clock was of a cheap make and no one paid it any attention. People came and went about their business without bothering with an old clock whose yellowish plastic was beginning to crack.

 
 

When Martha came to live in the flat she decided it was time to get rid of it. She summoned her flatmates - three women in their twenties - and declared:

"This clock is too old and it doesn't suit the living room. Its permanent tick-tock drives me mad, especially when I am trying to read. If you don't mind, I'll chuck it."

No one minded, of course - that is, no one except the clock. It had been bought, brand new, back when the flat was home to the Perkins, when no one had mobiles to check the time - people still relied on watches and wall clocks to govern their lives. The clock missed those days, when it felt useful and loved.

The clock had seen little Joe grow up and leave home, and return as a grown up to rent the flat to someone else. It had survived the first couple who lived there, people who loved the minimal lifestyle and threw away half of the furniture. They had kept the clock because "it had a marvellous retro feeling to it", as the man had put it.

Martha wasn't to blame - she had no way of knowing the clock had feelings. But from that day, the clock hated Martha and life started going poorly for her. First, her phone broke for no reason. She could no longer check the time there, and she started wearing her old plastic watch again until she saved enough money for a new phone.

Then she overslept and missed a very important meeting. She had asked her flatmate to wake her up, but the other girl forgot and, as a result, Martha was fired.

Without a job, she couldn't afford to live in the flat anymore, so she moved somewhere cheaper and took with her any idea of throwing the clock away.

It was with a sigh of relief that the clock saw her go. Life seemed safe once again - the clock wasn’t useful, but at least it was forgotten.

However, one of the other girls - the one with the pointy nose, who usually wore something red - didn’t forget about it. One rainy Saturday afternoon she looked up and told the others:

“We never got to throw away that old clock! I like the idea of having a wall clock, but this one is so old not even a charity shop will want it. I’ll get rid of it as soon as I buy a new one.

That same evening Mary - the girl with the pointy nose - went shopping for a new clock, but she was run over by a car on her way to the shop. She was badly hurt and had to stay at the hospital for a few weeks.

The clock was very cheerful when Mary didn’t come home that night, or the day after, or the day after that. Maybe she would never return, the clock thought hopefully. Its good spirits were restored until he overheard the last girl on the phone, recounting what had happened. She was sobbing and saying Mary was very ill, she might not be able to walk again…

The clock froze. Was it its own fault? He hated Martha and she lost her job, then he hated Mary and she got hurt. Would it be… its own doing?

“Maybe it is time for me to go.” The old clock thought, and it would have sighed if clocks could sigh. No one had any use for an old cheap clock. Worse than to be useless was to be evil. “Yes, I think I would rather go. I hope I am recycled.” And its heart would have ached if clocks had hearts.

The weeks passed. Mary eventually came back home and got better each day. Life went on, the two flatmates coming and going as before. The clock didn’t pay much attention to what surrounded it, not anymore - it felt like a part of it was already gone.

On a sunny spring Saturday a new girl came to visit. The flatmates had prepared an afternoon tea for their friend, and the air was filled with the smell of freshly cut flowers and homemade chocolate cake. She knew Martha and was telling how happy she was in her new job, and how much she was enjoying her new life. As she was rising the cup of tea to her lips, her eyes fell on the old clock.

“I can’t believe you have such a cool clock! My brother Brad and I used to have one that looked just the same. It brings so many memories!”

The clock didn’t understand what was going on - it stopped caring long ago. All it saw was the hazy shape of a face looking at it.

“That old thing? We were meaning to throw it away, and now it doesn’t even work anymore.” Mary answered, noticing for the first time that the clock had stopped.

“It brings back so many good memories! And I’m sure I could fix it. It might just need new batteries.” - the girl answered happily.

“Well, it’s all yours, if you want it.” Mary answered. The clock felt some hands taking it out of the wall, and it was sure its time had come. It didn’t matter anymore. Almost all of its soul was gone.

The girl took the clock, cleaned it and investigated why it didn’t work. At first she thought that the clock might need a new motor, but it only needed a new battery. She made it look as good as it possibly could, put it inside a nice velvet box and tied the box with a bright red ribbon. The clock wasn’t sure what was happening to it, but the velvet felt so soft, and it was so good to be there in the dark, resting… Maybe death wasn’t so bad after all.

But it wasn’t the end… the clock could hear voices… laughter… someone was opening the box! Light shone on it, and the clock saw a happy face staring at it.

“Amanda! I can’t believe you actually got our old clock back!”

“It’s another just like our old one, Brad” - answered the girl. - “But you will find it works just as well.”

If the clock had a head, it would be spinning. It had never felt as happy in its life, being placed on a wall once again, clean and working properly.

Brad would look at it often and smile, and the clock would smile in return. Amanda always had a warm look of affection for it when she visited her brother.

As for myself, I am not sure if that clock had special powers or not… but I know that Brad and Amanda were blessed with happy lives until the end of their days.