I put the shirt in my hands down and looked up at the clock – twelve thirty-five. I wasn’t sure how long I’d been there, but I felt more tired than I thought I should. Looking down at the box in front of me, I took a quick inventory of its contents. Maybe fifteen shirts, five or six pairs of slacks and some red shoes were neatly resting in the plastic bin. As I closed the two interlocking lids, the page-a-month calendar caught my eye, and I momentarily thought that it seemed unseasonably cool for May. I shook the thought and lifted the box onto an identical model. I had grown the pile to four containers, and started thinking about how I would get them to fit into the back of my car.
I stood up and started to head back towards the bedroom. To my left, on the granite counter tops were two boxes of tissues, a box of Efferdent and a can of cranberry sauce. “What an eclectic mix,” I thought to myself. I tried to connect the items in my head, to make sense of their placement and existence. Unable to do so, I relented to the realization that it would be a mystery never solved. I checked the clock again, wanting to make sure that I was home in time for Danielle’s dinner. The minute hand hovered at two hundred ten degrees, while the hour sat calmly between twelve and one. I walked past the massive collection of yarn, wondering how eager the Salvation Army would be to take them off my hands, realizing fully that I certainly couldn’t do anything with a hundred pounds of spun thread, and try as she might, neither could Danielle.
Turning the corner, I opened the closet and took down another sweatshirt, carefully placing it in another green-topped plastic bin. After what seemed like fifteen minutes, I closed another full box, picked it up and carried it down the hallway to the foyer. I set it beside the other four, and walked over to the grandfather clock. I could still remember the first time I saw it twenty years ago -a stately piece of furniture, tucked into a prominent corner of the living room, just to the left of my grandfather’s standing lamp. I examined the intricate brass work on the dial, taking in the same details I’d studied a thousand times before. I could still see the scratch on the date-wheel that I’d put there when I was thirteen, trying to set the time and date accurately. I looked at the large pendulum, and noted that some dust had accumulated on the weights. I made a note to wipe it off... next time. The clock looked back at me, constantly reminding me of the time – twelve thirty-five.
I walked down the hall to the living room, and looked out the sliding door to the trees outside. The robust colors were starting to show, and two or three of the less-fortunate leafs had already made their way to the ground, their summer dance over, and their fall spectacle cut short. How apt. I turned around, deciding I’d had enough of unit 310. As I walked out of the living room, I briefly thought about some upcoming appointments I had, and what the next few weeks would look like for me, at once coming to the all-to-obvious conclusion that they’d be busy – par usual. I glanced at the T-Bones calendar across the room, noting that the May special was a free children’s meal with purchase of two full-priced meals - worthless, on several levels.
I looked around the room one more time. Everything was exactly where it should be, exactly where it would be the next time I came back. I flipped off the last light over the entryway, took a deep breath, and stepped back into today.
I tug the door shut behind me, pull out key DL2, and latch the dead bolt and then the handle. I place the keys back in my pocket and walk down the hall. Like always, I steal a quick look over my shoulder, a quick glance back at the apartment where time stands still. I check my watch – six oh-one.