Inspired by Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”
The boy was astonished. Three hours early for a flight; this was ridiculous! He had expressed his concern to his grandfather, who had arranged for the wait, that he would “die of boredom; an hour is an eternity, let alone three!”
His grandfather merely shrugged and replied: “if an hour is an Eternity then you have a lot of time on your hands. The time will pass before you know it.”
The boy was annoyed and looked up at the clock, checking his time left stuck in limbo. There was still an hour left in the terminal, the clock showing the time of 3:03. Looking at the timepiece the boy began to count the remaining moments: “53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, and 60.” The boy looked to his grandfather, attempting to figure out why his grandfather found his time in purgatory so exciting, but his grandfather was merely looking out the window, examining the outside. The boy followed his grandfather’s gaze, and surveyed the outside and watched the cars pass: a red one, a black one, a white one, and another black one. The boy looked back to the clock, and sighed at the sight of the distance between the hour hand and the 4 o’clock position.
The boy lay his chin upon the table before him, closing his eyes and listening to the clock. Clocks don’t really go “tick, tock,” he thought, more of an “ik, ock; is there a particular style of clock that goes “tick, tock”? The boy looked over at his grandfather, now immersed in a newspaper, and recalled the large grandfather clock that is in the main room of his grandfather’s home, its constant “docking” often being the only sound which permeated the otherwise still silence of the old man’s dwelling. Why, the boy started to question, are they called grandfather clocks anyway? The boy’s mind desperately attempted to solve the problem it had been presented: maybe it’s a tradition; some old men gathered together and decided to pass on giant clocks as heirlooms? With a few more moments of deliberation, the boy dismissed the thought as unlikely, his mind citing the unlikely nature of a large enough group of grandfathers having the funds to afford an expensive antique, especially before pensions, hundreds of years ago.
The boy, failing to find another reasonable explanation for the nomenclature of a particular set of clock, quickly grasped onto another topic. Hundreds of years ago, his thought began, when there weren’t many, if any, clocks, now were events arranged? The boy thought of the constant updating of availability with his school friends. Would one be able to, in the time before clocks, arrange any event that lasted less than several hours? The boy considered his knowledge of the time before clocks, recollecting the tales of medieval fantasy and the little they learned in school. His knowledge of events outside of the typical larger scale affairs were surprisingly limited, even considering his finite information; with this in mind, and a few moments of consideration, the boy decided that the cliché festivals of earlier eras were likely, in part, due to the lack of timepieces to arrange more precisely timed events.
The nearby wrinkling of paper distracted the boy from his musings, and, when the boy’s eyes opened, he was surprised to see his grandfather standing beside a folded newspaper, a hand on his luggage. One eternity was finished, the first of many.
Written by Alex Puddifoot