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Wasting Time

by Judith Pratt

Image is of hundreds of watches and clocks discarded in a rubbish heap.
Image credit: Heather Zabriskie on Unsplash

You’re wasting your time writing poetry, said her family.

How can you waste time? she asked.

Hunting down Time took years of time. First, she collected clocks and watches. Ancient analog watches, fancy digital watches. Clocks that talked, clocks that chimed. Thirteen times thirteen clocks. She lived with them. She watched them. But Time did not appear.

Then she made schedules of what she was doing and might be doing. On paper, online. Outlined in notebooks, hung on bulletin boards. To-do lists. Wish lists. But Time did not appear.

Finally, she started walking. When she ran out of land, she took a boat. She couldn’t count the time because she had left all the clocks and watches behind. After thirteen countries and twice thirteen time zones, she found Time, perched on a rock overlooking a cold ocean.

How do I waste you? she asked.

Time didn’t answer. So she sat and looked at the cold ocean with Time for a month or a day or an hour.

Nothing is wasted, she said, finally. Time smiled at her and disappeared.

She went back home and wasted time by writing poetry. Or staring out the window. Sometimes she went and looked at the sky, or the grass, or the ocean.

You’re wasting your time, said her family.

No one owns Time, she told them.


Black and white photo of the author, Judith Pratt.
Judith Pratt

Judith Pratt’s experiences - actor, director, professor, fundraiser, and freelance writer - inspire her novels, stories, and plays. Most recently, her stories were published in “Fresh Words,” "The Gateway Review" "Fifth Di" and “Modern Magic.” They have also appeared online in a number of publications. She self-published her first novel, “The Dry Country.” Her novel, "Siljeea Magic", was indie-published in 2019. She's working on a new novel.

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