“Hey, you got a minute?” she called out to him. Her voice seemed raspy from days of non-stop counting, as if they were spent measuring each second and each minute for which the earth had been breathing.
He looked around with mild curiosity: “That’s ironic, coming from you.”
“Well, sometimes I can be like that. So anyway, when was the last time you thought I added value to your life?” she settled straight on her question. She gave the appearance of someone who wasn’t used to small talk and pleasantries, and might even look upon such indulgences as being extravagant with one’s time.
He wasn’t sure of what to say, and stuttered in his diffidence: “I don’t know. I think you are pretty. Everyone thinks so as well.”
She refused to help him out with his apparent discomfort and continued with her drill: “You know that my existence isn’t defined by how pretty I look, right? I am expected to serve a larger purpose.”
“Yeah, I know. But hey, the world is different. Our lives look nothing like how they used to, just fifteen years ago. Things change!” He tried being cheerful, evidently in vain.
At this point, her eyebrows went up and it seemed for a second that she might be impatient. But if there was one thing she epitomized, it was patience: “You realize that you are talking to me about time, don’t you? Don’t tell me that the world has changed and is constantly changing. You are scared to acknowledge that you only have a finite time to live on this planet. You are frightened when thinking about how many years it has already been since you took your first breath and what is it that you accomplished during all that time. You live a dichotomous life of constant trepidation about the future, and a baffling temerity about the present. Think about my purpose in your life, instead of whiling your days away.”
He gave up: “You know what, it’s a bit warm today and the air-conditioner’s remote isn’t working. I will just take out your battery and put it in the remote. These days, I need nine hours of good sleep. Of course you know that.” With that, he took the wall-clock off the nail it was hanging on, and pulled the battery out. Her tick-tock of a heartbeat died instantly.