The Mantel Clock

This time, a quarter to four is the time you’ll always see when you open that drawer. Batteries can’t save me now, I’ve even been replaced by a bigger better clock, with a shiny new face, but you’ve decided to keep me here – just in case. The drawer of shit you call it – I’m resting on a pile of old birthday candles and keys with no locks. Not to mention the medication you’re no longer prescribed and a miniature cactus plant waiting to die. I remember the day you made me your own. I was ‘free with your next order’ a marketing ploy, which was all the rage, twenty years ago before the recession took over. I arrived from Taiwan, you were going to present me as a gift for that woman at your works who was always late, but you couldn’t resist me in my shiny plastic case. I was glad of course; alarm clock gifts are always bad taste. I’ve been watching you around the clock ever since. Two houses later and I’m still here, although removed from on top of the fireplace. By the way, while we’re on the subject, next time you move, please don’t put me in the same box as the cups, saucers and knives.
Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years and decades, must be why you replaced me because I’m the one who can join you in your forlorn wonderings of ‘where did the time go?’ you’ve hidden me away but you can’t hide time, and you cannot hide your age, neither can I, I was getting slow. Over the time we had, I’d seen it all. The relationships you’ve had- there’s been a few. The hairstyles keeping in time with changing fashions. The different shapes and sizes you have been. The naked aerobics in the front room and in front of me, no thank you. I’ve only got one face, which is more than can be said for you. That friend of yours that doesn’t come around anymore, she’s scared of you, and the nasty things you do. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, which is better than being wrong every time you open your mouth. You’d get Arabica coffee mixed up with Arrabiata sauce; your condescending laugh blew her right out of your life. Even if I could turn the clock back, you only flatter those who flatter you. Twenty four hours in every day, on my time sometimes slightly more, wound slightly fast for your daughter, who is always late but in a rush to start her life. The one you always blame for your tardy rudeness because you’re in denial of your own bad traits.
In the fullness of time, when you find yourself alone do not pick up the phone, I’m here in the drawer, at a quarter to four. Even after the way you are, how can you expect people to say ‘I’ve got time’.

Copyright Samantha Henthorn 2018.

My writing friend (who doesn’t know yet that I’m posting this) and myself are putting together a short story collection. Hopefully available soon. If you can’t wait, and need a short story collection, Quirky Tales to Make Your Day is available here

close up photography of alarm clock

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