When I was in Kindergarten, we had a giant yellow clock that you could spin the hands on, and we would play a game (if it could be called that) where one student would set a time, and the first person to correctly name that time would win. I was the child who sat in the corner of the benches, picking my fingernails and checking my watch. I was the child who could already tell time. All you had to do was read the numbers off of the digital Scooby Doo wristwatch that I latched on every morning, and unlatched every night… I was more interested in the yellow stained carpet than the yellow painted clock, and who wouldn’t be? I was in Kindergarten, and time was inconsequential. I had all the time in the world.
In first grade, they made me stay inside during Recess, and watch the kids, a year below, spin the blue hands on the big clock face, and they asked me what time it said, and I told them that it didn’t matter what that clock said, because it was wrong. The right time was the time I had drawn with a magic marker on my wrist. It was twelve noon and it would always be twelve noon because that was the time when the sun was the highest and I was my brightest, loudest, and most energetic self. Time froze at noon, and I had more than the rest of the day, more than the rest of my life, to start it up again.
In third grade I slipped my father’s golden faced watch on my wrist and it slipped back off again, and I learned that time was better left lying on the carpet while I was outside feeling the grass underneath my head and gazing at clouds. The digital numbers on my McDonald’s-given Ninja Turtle time-keeper had stopped changing. The battery had run out and I was too busy running out under the rain and under the sun and under the snow to change it.
For my thirteenth birthday my mother gifted me a leather wristwatch with a face just like my long lost friend, the yellow painted blue handed clock that I had spent so many days with. I lost the gift while swimming in the ocean and I cared not to bleed my eyes dry or to cry the ocean larger by mourning. I was in a world of oreo’s and orange juice and time was inconsequential, I had all the time in the world.
When I was sixteen my best friend and I bought matching watches, from the dollar store, with skinny digital readings and timers that didn’t work. I fought her for the purple umbrella when we stepped out into the rain, and she called me childish and walked through the downpour on her own. She blamed me for the water that delved its way into the battery box and for the broken dollar that she threw into the trash an hour after spending it. I found her in school the next day to return her purple umbrella and she reached for it with a hand followed by a wrist with a leather wrist watch, silver hands and roman numerals ticking and tocking and taunting.
That was the day I found out that the watches with faces are for the faceless grown ups. They are for the children that have left childhood behind and thrown their dollar store purchases in the trash and no longer grace the oceans and the grasses and yellow stained carpets. The wearers of watches with faces are the ones who have lost the idea that time is inconsequential, and those that realize they no longer have all the time in the world. Noon comes and noon goes and their hands keep on ticking and tocking away, a faceless man with a yellow faced watch that stops for no one.