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Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2260207
The second you know.
Passing By

One Week
He forced himself to do things he didn't want to. He ate with a spoon out of the refrigerator, from the casseroles people had left. Sitting at the kitchen table still littered with condolence cards, he wondered about the curious custom of bringing casseroles for a person who was now alone and couldn't possibly eat them all.

Two weeks
He began to go for walks, pushing himself out the door every afternoon. He followed the same route, over to the commercial street, down the block, past the clock shop.

One Month
A bench faced the clock shop, and he began sitting on it, looking across the sidewalk into the shop's window. Most days, a woman stood inside, behind the counter. The proprietor, he guessed. One day, she smiled at him and waved. Startled, he got up and walked away.

Three months
It had become a thing. Every day, the woman smiled at him and waved. Eventually, he waved back. One day, even though he didn't feel like it, he smiled.

Six months
He got up from the bench, crossed the sidewalk, and pushed open the door. He looked around. Clocks festooned the shop, mounted flush against the walls, sitting on shelves, crowding the counters that surrounded him. Dangling from string affixed to some of the clock cases, rectangular tags displayed numbers: 9/30, 10/7, 10/9, 10/17, 10/31. 10/31. Halloween. The tags were pick-up dates for repaired clocks. Some people were late.

The clock mechanisms filled the air with soft clicks, enveloping him like a warm comforter on a cold afternoon of grey skies. He closed his eyes and breathed. He opened his eyes and stared at the woman behind the counter. "I don't remember why I came in here," he said.

She replied, "Maybe because it's time."

(Word count: 298)

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