Above my head, the plastic white clock in its green plastic frame, ticks away the seconds. No second-hand to visually warn me of passing time. When all is quiet, only then do I hear the tick-tick-tick of my days, endless days, passing by. I shall surely die under this endlessly ticking clock.
It is dark and cold outside. I have no window to see the stars, but my clock tells me all others have left. They have burrowed into parkas and gloves and hurried to their homes for warm stews with home-baked breads. I bury my head in numbers, pouring the digits into my brain, sifting them into order. I spit them onto electronic spreadsheets, divide the results among the masses; create unwanted bills for unwanted services. The numbers dark on white, freeze on the page, even as I remain frozen in the comfort of the known.
When I was child, my body flowed among rural suburban streets, in and out of woods and fields, flow and ebb in yards turned football fields. One moment I was king of Four Square, the next a young girl in love, and yet the next, defensive tackle, intercepting and running for the end-zone. Never to be beaten; never to be caught or caged.
Twenty years with ten to go, the plastic clock tells me. Hold on; you are almost there. Stay still, stay put, stay still, stay put. The clock ticks and my days slip away.
The child calls to me: run to me, before it’s too late.
The child ripples and skips over pebbles in its way; her freedom burns hot like the mid-summer sun. Too hot for my weary body. My path lies ahead. But the child’s warmth blows over frozen limbs, reawakening desires from long ago.
My head lifts from binders; my fingers reach for a pen. I drag a single sheet of blue-lined paper and tilt it to the left. Black ink to white; sentences trickle. I trip over lost words, meander from thought to thought. Until with time, a rolling river carves the way, and the heat brings to boil all that has been waiting.
I neither run back, nor stay put.
I soar on warm breezes above endless frozen lakes.