Ebony Chimes

Time stood still when the lights went out! Patrick stood still as a statue. I joined in, holding my breath, desperately waiting for the familiar chime of the clock but there was only the deafening sound of silence in the dark hallway.

Lights gently flickered back to life and the awful reality appeared before me. Great Uncle Arthur’s grandfather clock, the family heirloom which I had forever loved and been enchanted by, now stood eerily quiet, seeming for all the world as though it was also holding its breath and waiting for the next chime to sound. The violent jolt of my hand when startled by the sudden power cut had caused the mechanism to be forced and I just stood there in disbelief as the enormity of its loss hit me.

Disturbed from my reverie by a loud meow from Patrick, the black cat I’d adopted the previous year, I followed him to the kitchen and watched as he hungrily ate a pouch of food and then ambled out of the cat flap to explore the growing shadows in the garden. I made a cup of coffee and sat at the table, my thoughts returning to when I was a young child and obsessed with counting the clock’s hourly chimes. Always a lover of books, I was enthralled by Tom’s Midnight Garden and used to long to hear the clock strike thirteen so that I could enter that magical world alongside Tom and Hattie. Now the house felt empty and lonely without the sound of the clock’s constant ticking to keep me company.

I recalled the long never-ending sleepless nights of my youth, when every passing hour was marked by the chimes echoing throughout the house. Nights when I was awaiting exam results which would either help or hinder my career choice, and other times when my pillow was sodden with tears after a painful relationship breakup. The same steady chimes had marked the days spent away from my husband and also counted down the hours until we were reunited once more. This wonderful old ebony clock had been a constant companion throughout my life, and now it was still and silent due to me being startled by an unexpected power cut!

Determinedly, I open up my laptop and search for clock repairers in the local area. This was not going to be cheap to fix and I wasn’t sure whether my budget would be sufficient to repair the damage. Making a note of a few phone numbers, I resolved to contact a couple of companies for quotes in the morning.

Telling myself firmly that it was all going to be okay, I headed towards the stairs in the hallway. Stopping to stroke the beautiful casing of the clock, I reminded myself that time may be standing still for now, but the beautiful chimes would be heard once more

Lorraine Squire
Aug 17 2020

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