The ticking noise from the over-fashionable wall clock started to become threatening as the man on the floor realized he hadn’t had much time left. He stared at the clock, wondering who, in his opinion, would’ve bought such an ugly thing. A breathily laugh came from his lips, followed soon by wincing; he didn’t think how quickly he’d regret one decision.
Someone came barreling down the long hallway, their footsteps sounded like thunder with the way the sound bounced off of the empty walls. The only thing hung up on the walls was the large, tacky clock. The man on the floor softly cried out in relief as the lone paramedic ran toward him. They had never met, but the two of them had been through the exact situation before. It was the life the man led, and it was one the paramedic was used to.
“Hey, doc.” The man could hardly talk. The paramedic’s mouth moved, but all the man could hear was the clock. The clock that synced with his heartbeat, the clock that slowly ticked, the clock that was mocking him. The man slowly drifted away into his memories, trying to fight back the thoughts that the clock brought.
The man remembered the time he caught his first high, and the first of many times he had been in the situation he was in now. It was a walk in the park each time, every time he recovered. A repeating cycle, just like clock work, just once in a while he’d get too greedy. He stared at the paramedic, examined the man who would save his life, who he knew he’d soon forget.
The paramedic’s eyes were slanted in a permanently sad state. His physical features said young adult, but his expression said older. He wondered what the paramedic was thinking: did he care about the man, or was he just another junkie to him? Did he have a family of his own? What goes on in the mind of a paramedic?
The ticking noise came flooding back into his mind. At that point, the man felt a personal vendetta for that one particular ugly clock. He glared at it, fantasizing about smashing it into a hundred pieces. It was a disgusting green color, shaped like a compass rose. The rim that separated the white of the clock from the green, was bright yellow. He wondered how he got to someplace so fancy, that also managed to have poor taste in decorations.
The clock stood out drastically from the rather plain, white wallpaper. The man thought about it. Whoever put the clock there deliberately did it to ruin him, he was sure of it. A few moments passed by, all of which were full of the man staring angrily at the clock, before he was being lifted away from the wall he rested on. He was laid down on a gurney, not breaking eye contact from the clock for a second.
He smiled to himself as he was rolled away from the clock. He knew he had won this round. He closed his eyes, a smile still on his face. The clock seemed to be burned into his mind, as it soon followed him into the ambulance. The bright light bothered the man, but he refused to close his eyes; he wasn’t going to let the clock win. Although, the slow ticking still remained.
The man became disgruntled as he looked up at the white light coming from the ambulance ceiling. A feeling of impending doom fell upon him, like he was forgetting something dire. With every slow tick that echoed throughout his head, he counted the seconds, then minutes. He started to feel like he was being left out of something important. There was something happening, and nobody was there to listen to what he had to say, and even if there was someone listening, he was almost sure they wouldn’t even care.
He furrowed his eyebrows, racking through his brain trying to find some reasoning for the feeling he had. The man’s eyes widened when he realized what was happening. “Why can’t you save me?” His voice was small, but the question held so much meaning to the paramedic. The man felt a tear roll down his cheek. He hadn’t remembered how long ago it was since he cried, but he knew that final tear would be his last.
The man shot up from a resting state, and stared at the wall in front of him. “What do you want from me?” He asked. He was fixated on the clock, hoping it would give him an answer. “What do you want from me?!” He got louder. The man stumbled into an upwards position, making his way toward the clock. As he walked further and further, he seemed to get taller… or the wall got shorter… but by the time he was near the clock, it was face to face with him.
The hands on the clock didn’t move. He could only see his faint reflection in the glass. The man knew it was himself, but not the man he was right in that moment. It was him before he started using, before his life went seemingly downhill. The man in the clock aged backwards, getting happier as the man grew younger. “What do you want from me?” He asked once more, but instead of him asking the clock, he asked his younger self. “Please.”
His younger self remained silent. He shook his head at the man. It wasn’t long before the boy left, dissolving into the ticking sound. The man knew his dilemma, and he knew it well. He underestimated the clock, and the power it held. The only object there for him in the end, was an ugly colored clock in an empty apartment building hallway. It wasn’t about whether or not the man enjoyed the clock and it’s presence, but rather it was about how the man felt about it all. He knew in that moment that the clock wasn’t his enemy. The clock’s job didn’t just tell him the time, it reminded him of his past, and the future he could’ve had. It stood there as a reminder that time is important, and instead he took it in a demeaning way. He mistook a friend for a foe, and that isn’t a mistake he’d live to learn from.