Countdown

Always the adventurer, I did not want to take advantage of the soulmate clock when I was in my late teens as most do. I wanted the joy of discovery, the surprise of finding that perfect person for me on my own, you know? I hadn’t told anyone at the time, but I was afraid. What if the clock said my soulmate was years, even decades away? It was always possibility. Did I really want to know that I could be an old lady before I met *the one*? Therefore, I did not get one. However, I had promised my best friend that if I had not found the one by the time I was forty I would consent to get a countdown clock. One spectacularly failed marriage and my fortieth birthday later, I was held to my word. I got a soulmate countdown clock and I waited.

And waited.

Oh, trust me, I had me some fun while I waited, but I waited.

Twenty-two years, three months, six days and far too many hours, minutes and seconds. That is how long I’ve waited.

Per the usage rules, depending on the time frame, a client comes in the day before or morning of the event horizon to have the device checked one last time. Apparently, there were many people in my area who were meeting their soon to be significant others today. The place was so packed it was literally draw by straws to parcel folks out to other units to handle the load. Even so, I was among the last seen for the morning appointments. Still, I have to admit, after waiting all this time; the excitement gripped me as I finally hear my name called.

Martin is my friendly neighborhood technician and runs through the required spiel. Reminding me of all the things which I have heard countless times from other clock users over the years. That, in a nutshell, the clocks can only predict when you will meet, not how long you’ll live happily ever after and after a certain age the clocks are less reliable and while essentially love can be found at any time in one’s life, this was pretty much my last shot with the clock for my old ass. I try not to roll my eyes as Martin states all of this in much more diplomatic and politically correct manner, of course.

From another room, we hear a young woman’s squeal of excitement.

“Oh I know that sound!” Martin, grins. “That’s a new one whose clock has just turned on. It must mean her soulmate count down is really short. She’ll be meeting him or her soon, the lucky gal! Hey look, you too!” Martin turns my wrist to show me as if I didn’t already know that.

0y, 0m, d, 0h, 4m, 42s. Holy shit! I didn’t know!

“That’s less than five minutes!” I yell totally caught off guard. What should have been a 30 minutes process had cost me nearly half of the morning.

“Well I know it ain’t me, honey! Get the hell out of here and go meet him! GO!” He literally pulls me out the chair and opens the door, shooing me out of the room.

I hurry to the now empty waiting area. I glance at my watch, 0y, 0m, d, 0h, 3m, 31s and beeline for the main door to the street.

With a couple of minutes to spare, I straighten myself out as much as possible. I toss an errant curl behind my ear before I spot him across the street. Tall, salt and peppered curling hair, to match his equally salted stubble and our eyes connect. I feel a pull. I feel it from the depths of my being as my breath catches. I can tell it is the same for him as he gasps.  He glances at his clock and I glance at mine…

0y, 0m, d, 0h, 0m, 51 s.

He grins at me knowingly, as the street light changes and he steps from the curb.

I am looking at his face, loving his smile, watching the confident strut of his stride all the while chastising myself for being all-aflutter when a cacophony of sound draws my attention. A soul wrenching combination of yelling, tires screeching, glass breaking and metal crunching together. My soul lurches again as I realize my newly found mate is no longer striding towards me, but is now several feet away a tangle of blood and bones. I don’t even think about it – I run to him.

The moment I grasp his hand all sound mutes, but that of our hearts falling into sync. He turns his head to look at me, he tries to smile, to speak, but he can’t. I happen to be holding the hand with his countdown clock and quickly glance at mine comparing times 3…2…1…

0y, 0m, d, 0h, 0m, 0 s – they match.

His hand goes limp in mine and I know.

I use my other hand to close the lids on eyes that no longer see me.

8 thoughts on “Countdown

  1. Oh, this is so lovely. And so awful. A really unique idea. You could do a series on different clock users. Maybe with some happy endings. I’m a sucker for a happy ending. I enjoyed this although it was sad.x

  2. Pathos I expected (and very well done). I must admit, however, I fully expected you to go further beyond the T-0 point…

    • JJ,DJ,JJ

      Thanks!

      I was following the patterns in the example given , all of which ended moments after the initial meeting and were relatively short

      This is actually truncated from the longer story as I initially imagined it.

  3. ya see.. I imagined you figuring that both people were looking at their individual watches, sync’d to a common meeting time, and just as the time ran down to zero and they gazed at one another from across the room, one would notice someone else just over the others shoulders, and BAM! their watch would suddenly reset to 5 minutes left, leaving the other sitting there looking at a blinking 00:00:00 …. cause you’d be just wicked enough to ensure one of the characters would get royally screwed. Which you did. Just not in the way I had expected.

      • yeah, but it was kinda passive-aggressive to describe me to a T (“tall, confident, salt-and-pepper hair, matching stubble”) only to then run me over, wasn’t it?

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