My grandmother clock will keep good time, but only time marching forward. My own time is never linear no matter what I wish. Depression and anxiety are jumbled up with jangled nerves and black thoughts. Scenes flicker through, thoughts racing or hanging there incessantly, both happening at once. When the winding is finished I push the pendulum to start its sway back and forth.

 

By Julia Prentice

It’s Tuesday, time to wind my clock.

It is actually a grandmother clock, not tall enough to be a grandfather. Yet, she stands in the foyer with imposing majesty. Her fine cabinet is made of dark stained hardwood. She is old, but looks ever-stately and refined. Her pendulum and weights are polished brass, gleaming inside the case window.

I open the face, take the key and start winding the center weight back to the top. As I wind, the gears turn and grind slightly and gear wheels start to turn in my mind. The clock in my head runs forward and back. Nothing seems sequential, it is all jumbled up, jumping around until time travel wears me to a nub. My grandmother clock will keep good time, but only time marching forward. My own time is never linear no matter what I wish. Depression and anxiety are jumbled up with jangled nerves and black thoughts. Scenes flicker through, thoughts racing or hanging there incessantly, both happening at once.

When the winding is finished I push the pendulum to start its sway back and forth.

The weight begins to travel downwards. My thoughts sink, my mind swings backward. Dark and light, day and night turned upside down. The past images pass though and old emotions pass by with each tick and tock. Surging forward to the present sadness—the light of day barely a glimmer through the gauze curtains hanging in the window.

The hands advance, their carved intricacy beckon, as they travel across the creamy face. Small red roses bunch at the corners and the Roman numerals stand at attention like guards. They measure the present and predict the future, as the hands march through time. Softness and strength I see.

Hearing the ticking is sometimes soothing as it rocks steady and comforts like a loving embrace. Other times, I hang on each second, the minute wheel advances and seems to slow to my waiting heartbeat.

I wait for the chimes. Each time the sound startles me, jarring though melodious.

Westminster chimes, the quarter, half, three quarters then the booming of each hour sounds like a graveside church bell. I dread the next hour when it all repeats. My brain rings with the beat of the chimes with deafening reverberation. I decided to silence the clock chimes, flipping the switch to turn them off. Wish I had a switch for my ringing thoughts.

The moon on the clock face has a soft creamy color and gilt stars shine in a deep blue sky. But the moon is false, it never sets…it is only painted on. What do I see in that sky painted sky? Blackness, despair and no moonlight. Time seems to freeze. I wait for the sun to rise but it never does. The pendulum weight is at the bottom…I am unwound, run down. I hear no more ticks and rocks, just silence.

Until it is Tuesday and I am winding my grandmother clock again.

 

From the Connecticut originally, Julia now lives in North Carolina, US with her soulmate and their furry companion. Past careers include ASL interpreting, preschool teaching and tutoring. Currently she is a passionate Peer Supporter of persons with mental health challenges, a certified W.R.A.P. Facilitator and Certified Peer Specialist. In her spare time she’s a writer, knitter, crafter and singer. Her poetry is published in seven books, and several blogs. 

 

 

Photo: Pixabay

Editor: Dana Gornall

 

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