fiction · grace · stories · whatsyourstory · women · writing

Calculating

Sip slowly, I said.

I never watched the clock spin for more than a minute. Its movement made me anxious. Tick, tick tick. Now, time keeps itself differently. Appears on command. 1, 2, 3:25. An invisible hand traces the seconds. I remember what it’s like to clock in and out of a job that paid you every hour. Every quarter rounded up to the next number as you waited, waited, waited for the slow race to end.

What did you do to pass the time? She said, checking her watch. Digital. Big. A thick gold cuff around her wrist that made her bones look even smaller.

Re-organized files. Color-coded the pens. Wrote my name a thousand times on a sheet of notepad paper, each time in a different handwriting.

Wasn’t there real work to do?

Yes, I said, cupping my tea. But real work doesn’t follow the clock, sweetheart. Real work does not turn on and shut off in any regular pattern. It does not pay you to show up. It costs.

What does it cost, Grandma?

Your whole life. And when you find something worth your whole life, you will not waste a moment waiting for it to be the next.

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