Thursday, 13 October 2011

Mr Clock

Catching up with Mr Clock

I was running late (or was I he in some other story?), a little late anyway, nothing unusual, just what happens when you run out of time. It had all seemed simple in the beginning, catch a train, catch a lift, get there, get changed, then get to the church, Jesus, it wasn't even him who was to be married. It was a friend of an ex, not a proper person at all. It was somewhere in Yorkshire, for some reason that made it complicated, who knows why. It doesn't help either when things start to run in the wrong order, well the train was fine, a few minutes late, then she was supposed to pick me up; I waited. That's all you can do, when she did arrive there was only a gushing explanation and a blurred set of instructions. Due to a bereavement and a complication (family related) could I go and open the hall first, then the caterers could come in and prepare and then we'd meet up and it's a funny kind of combination lock and the numbers are blah. It's all on the yellow sticky, now folded in my back pocket, ready for later, for the thing that happens later.

I really worked hard and took it all in and wrote the number on my palm to be safe, ok less time to change into the kilt but at least I had a role, albeit very much a back room one, to play in the day. She dropped me near to the hall. The church wasn't the usual kind, the people there were enthusiastic, they participated or so I'd heard. The church itself really was a small complex of separate buildings, an obvious meeting room, offices, sheds, halls and outbuildings. I wasn't quite sure which one was the hall and strangely there was nobody around to ask. I decided to follow the instructions I'd been given (why would I do otherwise?) and arrived at grey stone building with a brown door and a rather fearsome looking gun metal combination pad with letters and numbers.

Each pad I pushed seem offer some stubborn mechanical resistance but I entered the six digit code; nothing happened. Perhaps I hadn't pressed hard enough so I tried again, still nothing, no clicks or whirs or sounds or movements that might reveal a degree of success. The deep frustration and anger you get when faced with a mechanically stubborn situation like this is hard to describe. I felt the rage and I felt the trembles but I held myself together and tried one more time. It still wouldn't open. I was undone in this dream, in this role and situation. I hate ever so when I let people down, that's a horrible feeling, any author or artist will tell you that, though they may not mean what they say. That thing that I cannot quite name is clearly the prerogative of the creative types (those with the radiant souls) and I am not in their company.

What had happened formed a typical, familiar dream or nightmare for you, being late, losing teeth from your mouth, forgetting your underwear or falling into pillows from a great height. Then something snapped, maybe in me, maybe in the lock, it was open, it clicked. I pushed against the door, there was resistance for a second then a forgiving creak and the door travelled inwards, open. I fumbled for a light switch but that was unnecessary, there was a light in the room, in the space. Dull and bright, clear but opaque, the light of somewhere was from somewhere else. Time was not important and attitudes towards it changed in me, in that room. I met with Mr Clock and shook his hand, I held his gaze and he held mine, it seemed that there was a mutual respect and acceptance from our opposing positions. Mr Clock leaned forward, there was no need for him to introduce himself, I'd dreamt of this moment many times, in many times. He smiled an old man's smile and I felt as if he approved of me. That feeling made me feel six feet six tall and eighteen inches wide at least, worth all the effort and the rambling. Then he looked me up and down and said three very simple, straightforward words to me. I still remember them, “Be patient son.”

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