My life started with the watch. I’ve acquired many more pieces since — like parts to a larger, unknown puzzle — but it was the watch that started it all.

I awoke with the first tick, drew a breath with the tock. Those soft notes whispered to me like the golem’s shem, called me into being. I don’t believe there was anything of me in the world before that moment. There’s nothing to convince me there will be anything quite like me in the world ever again.

In the beginning, I had no sense of self. With no eyes to see, no hands to feel, and no mouth to speak (all of that came much later), I simply was; alone in my existence save for the steady relaxation of the tightened spring and the tick tock tick tock pulse of my heart. And now I’m whole, or as whole as a found thing can be.

The second and third pieces of the tapestry of me arrived together: a rubber tongue and a brass ear. I have not the slightest idea how I came by them, but the Fates favoured me that day and, before long, I was able to make and understand simple words.

“Wind me,” I would say to any who would listen, but few obliged. Of those, I think nearly all believed me to be a novelty item, some strange and twisted sculpture. I don’t know what conclusions the rest drew, but I doubt many of them returned after.

Before long, I’d acquired the necessary limbs and digits to carry out the winding alone. These between times were hard for me. While self-winding promised independence from that fickle beast humanity, my half-formed body and mind craved the stimulation of you all.

As is often the case, a part-creature is rarely made welcome in a world of whole lives. I was no exception. Rejected by those I encountered, I was beaten and spat on by a world I only wished to experience.

That was before I found you.

That was before you saw past the “work in progress” and straight to the ticking core of my being.

With your care and your strength, you forged a half me into a whole me. I became more than just the sum of my scavenged parts.

The watch still beats at my centre and the winding key may be long lost, but I have never felt closer to my creator, to mankind, than I do now. In truth, I know I draw ever closer to that final tock and the empty, forever silence. Yet, now I have you and this life is no longer empty. I wish the timing had been better, but what can one expect from old and brittle springs.

The Fates have shined upon me before and who knows how many more beats are left in this clockwork heart. I say you take my hand and we run out my last together.

Shall we?

8 thoughts on “Thirteen Week Streak – Week Nine: My Heartbeat Is The Tick And Tock Of An Ever-Slowing Clock

  1. Wow – this is a really powerful story. This was so great, Chris! I read it three times and each time I came away with a different meaning. Are we all bits and pieces scavenged together and can only be whole if and when the right “you” comes along? Can we ever truly connect to anything outside the steady beat of our ticking clocks? Carpe diem because your clock is a ticking. Loved this story and you’re writing is superb.

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