A few days ago, this is what part of my wall looked like. Nothing to get upset about. I mean, it’s just a blank space on a wall, right? Hang something up there and move on. Simple. An easy fix.
Not so much. This is what was supposed to be there. That clock has hung on every living room of every home I’ve lived in since I was 19 years old. It’s a decent looking clock. I fell in love with how the gold numbers and hands contrasted with the dark wood. I really love the seascape, although I do regret the death of the starfish. That clock doesn’t lose more than a minute a year. But all those details isn’t what makes it so special.
I bought it at a yard sale on a cool, sunny day. But the weather doesn’t make it special either.
I know exactly which house, on which block, of which town it came from. The previous owner has long since passed away. But that’s not what makes this clock so special either.
I drove a baby blue, 1980, Datsun 210 back then. Datsun changed their name to Nissan in 1986. But all that isn’t the point of this story.
I don’t recall the conversation between my mom and I that day. Although I do recall that the woman at the yard sale lowered the price of the clock by $5.00. My mom laughed when she did it.
I didn’t think about all those details when I bought my clock. It was one of the few days that my mom and I had where we just drove around, not doing much of anything. And that’s what makes this clock so special.
Neither my mom nor I live in the small town of Madison, Florida, where this clock was purchased, anymore. The house has changed hands who knows how many times. But as long as this clock keeps on tickin’, and I can remember, that ordinary day will remain special.
I tell my kids the story. I hope one day, it will hang on one of their walls, and they will tell their kids and their kids and grandkids about the crazy woman who held onto a clock for more than thirty years because it reminded her of a day when nothing special happened…or did it?
No one in my family realized how much that clock meant until it broke. I told the story to a man who goes to our church. Even though he was sick, he repaired it as good as new. For three weeks, the space remained empty. My husband stared at that blank space, frustrated because time no longer occupied it.
Now the old clock has a new story to tell. When I asked the man how much I owed him, he said, “Just do someone else a favor when you get the chance.” I believe in doing that anyway.
I started out calling this piece “The Absence of Time.” Time is never absent. It’s a winding road, or a never-ending story. Each turn or flip of the page is a new adventure. My clock was never absent. It was just experiencing a new chapter in its story. Now, it’s back home, telling me about it.