Time is something that you can have too much of or too little of. Time is always there and you never notice it until you run out of it and need more of it or you have too much of it on your hands.
Zana wished that she could put all the time she needed into a huge container, an unbreakable container and when she needed more time she could take some out and when she had too much time she could put it all back in. Her container would have all the pictures of her family and friends framed around it as a reminder of time and to make time for those she loved. If anyone was running out of time she would reach in her container and give them more. When she wanted more time with them she would be greedy and take time out by the handfuls.
At home Zana had a huge brown wooden coo-coo clock which her grandmother had given her for her 30th birthday. Zana liked birds and she liked clocks so her grandmother gave her what she called an all in one gift. That clock was a constant reminder of the ticks off the clock whether Zana noticed it or not. It was a big reminder of time passing and time coming. That hideous black, blue, red and green bird was always there singing the same song every hour on the hour and each chirp reminded her of her grandmother and how little time she actually had with her.
She wished that she had that time in a bottle container back when she was holding her grandmother’s hand for the first time when she was born and the last time when she was dying. She squeezed her grandmother’s hand hard that night. She wanted to squeeze more life into her and squeeze the grim reaper and death away. She wanted more minutes, seconds, years with grandmother but time said otherwise. Her grandmother smiled her crooked smile and mouthed the words, “I love you sweetie.” Closed her eyes and time took her. Time was cruel.
Watching her daughters grow up she wanted time to stop. She watched that clock more times than she could count when they were babies and she was walking with them through the night holding them tightly to her chest, rocking them trying to get them to sleep. She walked the floors many times when they were babies and wore out the spot in the rug closest to the clock. She thought that she had all the time in the world back then. Time didn’t stop and they grew to mature women almost in the blink of two eyes. She wished her fantasy bottle of time was real. She wouldn’t have stopped time but just slowed it down for a minute, or second just to take it all in and to look at them more, laugh with them more and read to them their favorite book just one more time.
She saw time pass each season with the falling of the colored leaves in the fall, the heat of the summer’s sun on her skin in June, and the chill of the wind in winter. She paid no attention as she lived her life and went through days and years in a blur. She did this for half a century until one day when she suddenly stopped to take notice. She was sitting on a bench drinking her hot herbal tea when a leaf fell on her lap. She instantly swatted it away. The leaf fell to her feet and like most leaves do when they fall to the ground they don’t make a sound. Zana looked down at the leaf at her feet and she noticed the reddish and greenish colors of that leaf. The snowflake shape of it. She noticed the smooth edges of the leaf and the gentle way it fell on the ground. The wind blew the leaf away almost as quickly as it fell off the tree and Zane found herself chasing leaves that day. She chased the leaves until she ran out of breath. She never noticed before all the leaves and all the time that it took for all of the leaves on all the trees and how much time it took for summer to turn into fall. She thought about all the times she took every leaf, and every tree for granted. She saw them but never looked. Never appreciated the passing of the seasons and the passing of time. She wanted to again reach into her imaginary bottle and take out some time and give it to herself. She wanted to go back in time to notice the seasons, the trees, the leaves of the trees. She wanted to go back and notice the colors of the seasons. She didn’t want to miss anything. But, she knew that was impossible. She couldn’t do that, go back as much as she wanted to.
The coo-coo clock on her wall struck midnight. It was the start of another day. Twenty four hours had passed just like that. Zane hadn’t used her twenty fours as well as she wanted to. She had done mundane things. She went to work, walked past the usual group of young men on the corner shooting dice and the old man in the park who was there every morning asking for spare change. She always put a dollar in his styrofoam cup and smiled and kept walking to the bus stop. At the bus stop was the usual group of people. She smiled at the young boy carrying the bright green backpack with the matching baseball cap on his way to school. She nodded at the woman who was always impeccably dressed and she imagined that she was going to some corporate office and worked on the tenth floor. She imagined that the woman did the exact same thing at her job every day and had a business suit in her closet for every occasion. She thought that this woman probably had every shade of grey and black shoes and on the weekends she played racquetball with her girlfriends and had Sunday brunch with her boyfriend who was a big time lawyer or CEO. Zana waved to the woman with the perfume that made her nostrils hurt. She imagined that woman decided to treat herself and went into the priciest store at the mall and brought the most expensive perfume her money could buy and just wanted to smell good. She wondered what all these people did with their time.
Zane’s clock ticked and tocked and tocked and ticked off the seconds. She made a decision that she was going to notice how she spent her time and wasn’t going to take it for granted. When the final tick of the clock ticked for her she was going to leave this world knowing that she spent her time wisely because she paid attention to every falling leaf and every season changing.