Time is irrelevant. Unless you want to go back. That, unlike in the movies, can’t be done.
But hitting pause, slowing things down, or speeding things up, it’s how the Observers get by.
They walk among us, helping where they can – sometimes hindering – all the while fascinated with our obsession with time.
It seems we don’t have enough of the stuff. That, at least, is the complaint. The Observers however see time wasted, time ill-spent, time forgotten.
There’s plenty of it, really. So much, in fact, that it’s easy to get lost in its folds, it’s intricacies, its complexities. Time can be a wondrous and beautiful thing when appreciated.
And appreciation is all the Observers have for time. After all, time is all they have.
As I scan the room I realise I’ve forgotten what I was looking for.
There are a few rumpled clothes in the corner; I’m not sure if they’re clean or dirty because there’s another few in the other corner. The dresser by the door is cluttered with make-up, hair ties and hair clips, and on the window seat there’s a book that will never be fully read.
I pull my knees closer to my chest and tug the blankets back over me. I grab the other pillow – the one from the side of the bed that doesn’t get used any more – and prop it behind my back so that I can lean against the wall without feeling its chill.
I think the fact that I’m sitting up is enough. It means I’m awake, even if I’m not functioning.
Looking over at the empty space where the pillow once was, where a body was only a week ago, I can feel my forehead crinkle and my thoughts get lost again.
I consider lying back down, pulling the covers over my head and blocking out the world. But I know that the moment I do, I’ll feel the absence of heat next to me, of arms no longer there.
The weight feels heavier today than it did yesterday. Today is the first day that friends have moved back to their homes, family are back at work, and I am still here. In a bed only half used.
The first day had been the worst. There was no warning. That had been one of the hardest things; no one saw this coming. I’m not sure if knowing someone was going to die would make their passing any easier, but at least it gives you time to get used to the idea, and to make arrangements.
Instead the world dropped away and my lungs refused to work. The tears had fallen so quickly, the right eye spilling salt so much faster than the left but for what reason, I don’t know.
I felt stupid that my cries were so loud. That the thought of him leaving took away my ability to breathe as my chest desperately tried to work out what to do. So much of what happened after that had been a blur as family stepped in and took over.
And now they’re gone.
And I’m still here.
I hadn’t even noticed my thumb spinning a ring on my left hand. A habit. Do I keep wearing the ring? How long for? I spin it gently with my other hand and test how far up it will move. Not much. If it ever comes off it will either be by a lot of soap, or by a sharp cut.
I turn to my left and slide down, taking away the pillow that was behind my back and holding it tight in front of me as I slip further under the blankets.
The pillow is without its familiar scent which only creates more tears. New sheets… new pillowcases… Mum had insisted. There’s no anger against her, instead the sorrow sends another tidal wave over me, crushing all other feeling.
I know I eventually have to get out of bed, but not now. For now I need this cocoon. I need the darkness. I need to get used to being alone.
Scott’s eyes were heavy but his thoughts buzzed loudly. Endless ideas and memories flickering and fighting for attention.
‘At least it’s still today and not tomorrow’, he thought.
The glaring red light of the clock radio burnt the numbers into his eyes as Scott rolled away from the light.
Six hours until his alarm clock would start screaming. Just six hours until he would have to drag himself out of bed and into the shower. Six and a half hours until he had to be in the car. Seven hours until he had to be at work. Eight until his first big meeting of the day. Nine… Scott yawned.
Nine, eight, seven, six… Asleep at last.