Clock face, abstract picture including a person's face and cogs

The vortex of time

The uniform tick, tock of the clock. Time passes, never changing.

And yet, somehow, it has warped. Whizzing by at the peak of the vortex, dragging slowly on the outer edge. A distorted perception, an unexpected reality.

Time drags

A mum sits on the bed, listening to her husband snoring. Exhausted. Willing the baby girl at her breast to go to sleep. To let her get some rest. Hours seem to pass in a sleepy haze. She moves the baby so gently but alas, she is awake again. Crying. Only comforted by her mum. And so the cycle goes on. The snoring, the wakeful baby. So tired.

A baby asleep in a crib wearing a brown and white striped top

A brother sits by the phone, waiting for news. His sister. An accident. They’ll phone when they know more. How is she? Please let her be okay. The clock ticks but its hands don’t seem to move. He turns on the television for a distraction but he can’t concentrate. He turns it off. The minute hand has hardly moved. Tick, tock, tick, tock. The phone doesn’t ring.

An old man shuffles down the street and sits in his usual spot beside the bar. Orders his usual drink and watches the lunchtime news. Time means nothing. Nobody at home. Not a soul to speak to or a word to say. The upbeat music of the fruit machine plays on. The tune repeats, again and again. But time is not moving, it has no reason.

Time flies

In the blink of an eye, their breastfeeding journey is over. She can’t recall the last feed, but realises it has been weeks. A baby no more, her daughter chatters away. Walking around, dragging a treasured old toy. The battered, smelly yellow rag that was once a pristine comforter in her crib. Still her favourite. Where did the time go?

As he disembarks the plane, he catches a glimpse of a sign with his name on. Scrawled in that slanted, loopy writing he knows so well. He stops, momentarily with a lump in his throat. They were never close, he took her for granted. That fateful day seems like only moments ago as he runs into her arms.

Dressed in black, she takes her dad’s favourite spot at the bar and drinks to his health. She was going to get in touch tomorrow. Always tomorrow. She didn’t phone for a few days, and days became weeks. There was always a reason not to pick up the phone. Was it really four years?

A pint of beer sits on a bar in a dimly lit room

The vortex of time

The vortex of time

Keeps its own pace

Through days it must saunter

But years are a race.

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  1. Oh what a powerful and well written piece.
    We had our own reminder when my husband’s nan fell last week and it was two days before I found out. Other people knew but had done nothing! I took her to minor injuries and she has broken a bone – we remember now that we need to make more time for her – as things like the cleaning just aren’t important are they x

  2. Hi Nat, brilliantly written. I’ve only got to look at my children and my parents to know that time flies. In a blink of an eye, it seems that my children are no longer children and my parents are getting on and I’m not even sure when that happened.


    1. Thank you Debbie. And yes, I feel the same. It’s just amazing to look at the children sometimes and realise how long it is since I had them. Any day now I’ll have to stop using the excuse of baby brain – maybe when my youngest turns 4??