20 to 4

It is the time many people start winding down their workday.

Perhaps the retired couple settles down with a cup of tea.

The widow wonders how long this day will last and how she’ll get to the night.

And to the other side of midnight.

The surfer checks the waves on radio, hoping to make it to the beach before the sun sets & the swell subsides.

The rider pulls up the blinds of his stuffy office checking the trees, hoping the wind won’t be too bad and the traffic and perhaps there’ll be time to saddle up and take a quick rush through indigenous woods.

Twenty to four.

It is the time I am writing this.

It is the time my children are unaware of.

Never do they ask what time it is.

Never are they rushed by the ticking clock to complete a task before another is hailed.

Never do they worry about running out of it or it running out on them.

Twenty to four.

The train is leaving the station.

The passenger is sitting back in his seat.

Looking at other passengers.

Looking at his watch.

I hope I will make it.

I hope I will be on time.

I hope I won’t be too late.

Too late.

When is that?

When is it too late to change direction?

When is it too late to embrace that dream?

When does the train leave the station without me on-board?

And will there be another?

Perhaps at twenty to five?

Or maybe even at twenty to six?

And will it take me where I want to go?

And if I get there, will there be time?

Will there be time to do what I’d hoped?

Will there be time to see it through?

And so the clock strikes four and people rush out of offices and cars race down highways and stores bustle with people picking up bread and milk and something for supper and dreams are trampled beneath our feet as we live from four to four to four to yet another four which rings another day spent with small relief as we hurry home, for some to a moment of relief with people they love, for some to an eternity of loneliness and others to abuse and pain and chaos.

Twenty to four.

The last whistle blows.

Slowly the cold hard steel wheels roll forward and away.

Is this the train I wanted to be on?

Will it reach its destination without consternation?

Will it be as I hoped?

__________________

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2 thoughts on “20 to 4

  1. My 20-4 is late in the night, when others are dreaming or sleeping or getting one last drink at the bar, driving home or jsut going to work. My 20-4 is my heaven.

    Great writing as always. keep it up

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