Tick Tock

It is breakfast time, and we are gathered around the table, gulping down cold milk and dining on pan de sal spread with chocolate or peanut butter. It is a humid Tuesday, a day when everyone is busy. The sun had already risen but no one in the family seemed to notice. We continued chowing down in content, sneaking in a few words about what events happened yesterday. As everyone looks into your face, we utter a panicky cry. My stomach is filled with disquiet as we rush washing the dishes and getting prepared for school.

Despite all the shouting, you stay unmoved, ticking away happily. You stay still in your place on the wall, presenting everyone the time amongst the running around to get ready. It’s as if you mock us with your work of only having to sit still for hours, while we must do our everyday duties almost barely catching up to your time.

A few days pass and it is the afternoon, a lazy Saturday of no work. Not much is to be done, and only the sound of the TV is heard. No one seems to sense as the time quickly flew. Everyone had their attention focused on other things. You suddenly stop. Although we were preoccupied, it only took minutes for us to realize you were broken.

Everyone gathers around you, replacing your batteries. You would run again and that would last a day before someone shouts, “I think the clock is late again!” You always seem to break down all over again. But something that broke day after day could still be repaired, more useful than ever.

There was a time when we gave up on the lost cause. None of us could tell the time unless someone had their gadget on. Every now and then my siblings and I would bug our parents, asking for the time. We thought of buying a new clock but there was something so special about your design.

 We tried to figure out a solution aside from changing your batteries, which only proved to be unnecessary. The problem was then revealed to us by my mom: your hands were the ones that were broken. The minute hand was loose and swayed an inch, the only thing keeping it from falling was the nail that held it. When the minute hand stopped, the hour hand would as well.

I don’t remember how it was fixed. I think the batteries were replaced- one last time- and the hands were adjusted to match the time. Maybe the nail in the middle was hammered to make sure the hands were secure.

I woke up the next day with your face saying it was already 7:30 AM. I sprinted up quickly, my face in alarm, and made my bed before preparing for school, only to realize announced the time fifteen minutes in advance. This didn’t annoy me in any way; it was useful. Except for the fact that only forty-five minutes was there to prepare for school on that day. It’s better than only thirty minutes, though. You tell me to get ready fifteen minutes before to give me extra time to rest.

It wasn’t only punctuality you helped me with, you taught me to be grateful for the things I still have right now, because your time can always take them away. You discard the things you know I won’t be able to use anymore, the things that have served their purpose. You let things pass on quietly, only letting me notice later so I could realize the times when they have served me. You make time a struggle when you know I don’t progress anymore.

I admit that I’m not good at taking care of things given to me. Multiple times a week you can hear me asking, “Where is my pen?” or “Who took my glasses?” A gift won’t last long, but the memories they left behind, I always treasure.

I remember you were the gift my mother gave to my father. It was his birthday, and we were decorating the living room and the dining room. While my sister and brother were online in their classes, my mother and I tried to find a gift that was special, a gift that traced the family’s connections.

We decided to buy you, a clock that could be personalized. You had 12 transparent slots where we could place photos inside. I printed images of my and my siblings’ baby pictures, and pictures of my parents. The slots were only small and round, so we had to cut them into circles.

When we had finished decorating you, we shielded you with a plastic covering and tucked you inside a paper bag.

The day of my father’s birthday came. It was early in the morning when we prepared the banner and the gifts that were laid on the piano. As the gift was opened, we all realized one thing. You didn’t have the hand that showed the seconds. None of us minded. It only pressured us more when there was a never-ending countdown displayed on the wall.

There wasn’t a countdown, however you still made a clicking noise when all was quiet. Its echo would stretch across the living room and can even be heard in the kitchen. On inconvenient times, you scared me, like in horror moves when your ticks slow down in speed and a jumpscare appears. Running to the bedroom was a thrill, the grin on my face wide as I slam the door behind me, leaving the outside.

White and sturdy, you were hung above the piano. You didn’t just tell us what time it is; you didn’t just remind us of what needed to be done. You taught us precious things disappear when we don’t need them anymore, even if we still want them. You taught us to treasure what we still had, that every second was meaningful- they do make an hour, don’t they?

Today, we have another clock in the house. It is brown and sturdier than you are. It has a wooden texture, hung up in the room my siblings and I share. It is much older than you, I don’t even remember when it was brought to this house. But it cannot replace you. It doesn’t have the pictures nor the memories.

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