The Timekeeper

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She gazed at the ticking arms of the watch as they urged her to leave the scene. Photo: Tala Alsakka-Amini

By Tala Alsakka-Amini

Stillness washed over the city as the sun crawled back into the invisible horizon. The earth breathed while the moving clouds obscured the sun’s golden light. The comforting whiff of rain swirled about the scene. A small gap emerged from the laced sky, showering the bronze soil with quills of boisterous light. 

Curled like an embryo at the edge of the metallic water, lay a dark silhouette of a woman cowering at the lake’s mouth. Her thin figure clung to the pasty water in fear of being apart from it. The machine buildings glared at this spectacle in bewilderment.

She appeared to be so tranquil that even the frames of time froze beneath her. Her dark silky abaya ruffled in the wind, creating soft creases around her flowing scarf. Impatiently, she rose firmly lifting her abaya at knee height. Her pale foot submerged into the vivid lake ripping the water’s skin as she gently wriggled it about, forming plumes of rich silt. Branches and sediments quickly gathered in curiosity to uncover this rare commotion. 

Like a kaleidoscope, dispersed light danced about her leg while the soft ripples began to take shape. She speculated the fusion of colors at her feet, seemingly ruminating over the essence of life.

A breeze went by and pushed her slightly, urging her to kneel in the cold water. The comforting hum of the waves slowly intensified. Seconds after, she lifted her foot from the water and gazed at the spot her foot once was. She noticed that the water has patched itself rapidly, returning to its previous state, reminding her that time eases pain.

Deepening hues of orange overtook the sky while the sun sank deeper into the horizon. Time sat on her wrist patiently as she held grains of sand between her fingertips. The sand appeared to be granular and dark in color, twinkling as they rolled about her thumb. Thick strands of night began to tug at the sun in search of the evening. Ever so slightly, the shadows began to outline the clouds that adorned the sky. 

She gazed upwards slowly to find beads of rain trickling down as the clouds waltzed away into the night sky. The footprints marked on the sand began to collect small pools of clear water. Shoe prints slowly faded as the water healed the earth below, gently washing away stranded memories. 

The moon in its crescent form, slowly climbed the lanky buildings. Except, the moon halted for a moment as though powerless to continue the journey of ascension. Disoriented, the woman adjusted her watch to get a better view of the time. She gazed at the ticking arms of the watch as they urged her to leave the scene. The sand particles on her abaya flew about in circles as she got up. The air attempted to coax her to stay. But she suddenly realized that time was not a mere figment of imagination any longer. It was her time to leave. To leave the bronze earth and replenishing skies. 

Tala Alsakka-Amini is a CAAD student