Daily Prompt: Tick Tock


Write a story about yourself from the perspective of an object, thing, animal, or another person.

 

I’ve sat here for the past 24 years, watching her as she goes about her business. She looks at me from time to time, usually when she’s running late or when she’s expecting someone to come and call on her. It makes me sad to watch her at the moment because she’s ill and she has very little energy to get on with the things she wants to do.

When I first met her she was still a teenager, a giddy teenager who had just got engaged to her boyfriend. I spent the next couple of years after that first meeting lay in a box until she bought her house and I was placed on the mantelpiece. I remember the first morning after she’d put me there with a small arrangement of dried flowers. She was shocked to find the flowers all over the floor and I’m sure she didn’t believe her mum when she said it was a mouse that had run past them and knocked them onto the floor. I could tell her what really happened, but since when is anyone going to pay any attention to a clock?

She had her first baby and I watched her and her husband grow from being a young couple to being young parents. I could tell she didn’t have a clue but she battled on bravely enough. I think she did a good enough job – well, when you see her kids now you’ll know that all that worry she did in the early days was unfounded and ungrounded.

I was there the day she and her husband were burgled for the first time. I was shocked to see a stranger in the living room, and even more shocked when he started throwing things around the room. The policeman that came was a lovely chap and he was kind to her when she got home, upset and distraught that her home had been invaded. The burglar didn’t touch me. Didn’t even come close. I suppose that’s because I’m just a dumb clock and all I do is tell the time.

Shortly after they were burgled again I could hear them talk about moving house. They wanted to go to a different area, a bit closer to their families, and due course they moved to the house we live in now. They took the mantelpiece with them too. I’m glad about that. My feet were used to their place on that lovely piece of polished wood.

A new baby appeared shortly afterwards and the family was complete. I had four pairs of eyes looking at me, which was really comforting. Most of the time I was on my own. She was at work during the day and the house was like a madhouse in the evenings when everyone was home. The kids were well behaved but boy were they noisy! There was always something going on when they were home – musical instruments being practiced, clothes being sewn, games being played, arguments being had…

But then she got ill. All that energy, all that verve and fizz was gone in an instant. I thought there was something wrong a couple of months previously, but she didn’t give in to it and she kept going. I knew work was difficult for her and when the day came when she was too ill to carry on it was no surprise to me.

She was in hospital for a couple of weeks and ever since then, she’s been more or less constantly in the house. It’s been nearly four years now, and I know she watches me when there’s nothing for her to do, and no visitors are expected. It was hard for her in the first couple of months. Work colleagues didn’t get in touch with her for weeks and weeks and I know she was glad about the flowers she did get from some friends at work when she got home from the hospital. She couldn’t go to band and that in itself almost killed her. All her socialising was done there and it was the major outlet for her creativity and musical talent, so when it was taken away it was extremely hard for her to cope with. She spent much of the time lay on the settee because it hurt her to sit up and we spent many an afternoon watching each other; I’d watch her cry and moan with the pain, she’d watch my hands go round and round.

Things aren’t so bad now, but it still hurts me to see her with struggle to keep up the front for other people. She has found a place in church for herself now, and she conducts a band once a week which goes a little way to make up for the loss she feels about not being able to play her cornet any more. She seems a bit happier, but you can tell she’s a changed person from the one I knew four years ago.

People do change, and people grow and learn and develop and evolve, but this change isn’t a natural one and it makes me sad to think that she’s so different from how she was. But let’s face it, something had to change didn’t it? As much as the front is up there now there was an even bigger one back then and all that activity was a smokescreen to hide just how unhappy she was. She grieves the music, but I think the things that have come out now to replace it have made her a better person.

I’m happy she’s learned a new skill in crocheting. She always was a bit of a crafter, but all that time being confined to barracks has prompted her to find out how to crochet. I remember the day she nearly broke, and the phone call to her mum. “Mum, bring me a ball of wool and a crochet hook NOW. I’m going MAD!!!!!”. That was a great day because she’s learned how to make so many things like blankets and hats and toys that she’s given away and sold for a bit of money. She bothers about being a drain on her husband, but her craft projects help to make her feel like she’s contributing something. I’m really proud of her.

I know that she has had to reinvent herself just so that she can keep going. I watch her when she doesn’t think I can see her and I can read her face. She’s happy with her life, she’s showing a contentment I never thought she would, and I’m glad for her that she isn’t miserable like she used to be.

The pain and the sickness and the worry about what’s happening inside her make her anxious, but she’s not miserable any more. I try to smile at her to show her that I’m still there for her and I manage it twice a day, regular as…well, clockwork.

I wish she would give me a bit of a dust now and again though. She’s too poorly to do housework most of the time. She manages to conserve her energies for appearing normal outside the house, but that dust makes me sneeze. Perhaps now she’s read my thoughts about her she’ll feel sorry for me tomorrow and she’ll get the duster out and some polish. I like Pledge the best. The woody smell always reminds me of the time when I was first placed on the wooden mantel and I started my journey with her. It’s coming up to Autumn and that means Winter is only just round the corner. She likes to light candles and incense cones. Got to be sparkly clean for that!

 

 From Xperia S 27th Oct 2012 134

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