Thursday, 17 February 2011
Time himself stands waiting upon us all. As we all know, the more enjoyable moments pass too quickly and the harsh and tough moments seem to stretch their very seconds and minutes out. Nobody as far as we know can stop time or make our time in life go on. Oh there was that time when... and now I come to think of it, time did stop then - but it moved on very soon after.
It was a cold, crisp clear day in Spring when the sky was touched only by the barest wisps of cloud. In the quiet suburban street only a cat trotted home after a night's prowl, eager for breakfast and the warmth of a kitchen. A fox darted from a garden and lolloped along the road towards the woods without a backwards look. In a bedroom, Ophelia St Clair turned her back on the clock and pointedly tried to ignore it. But the sun would not be ignored and pushed through the pale curtains lighting up the room. Ophelia yawned and sighed heavily for she did not care to get up out of her warm bed and go to work.
"Come on, get up you sluggard," she told herself.
She sat up and stretched and wished silently that time would just stop for a little while. But she did not speak her wish aloud, which was just as well. There are and were at that time, certain imps, sprites and the like who like nothing more to cause mischief among we human beings. Naturally, being sensible and rational we do not believe in such things. But these creatures are aware of us and we annoy them with our blundering ways and our treatment of the world as if it were ours to do with as we please.
Ophelia was not a fool, but nonetheless she did not believe in such things as imps or sprites. She got up, prepared herself for the day and went down to make breakfast and coffee. Especially coffee. She sipped her coffee and watched the pale sky turn blue, the sun rising up.
As an architect and indeed like all designers she had a mind that mixed mathematics with art. The mathematics made her buildings stand up and not collapse, the art made them look good - so she hoped. The current project was behind time. There had been bad freak weather thanks to children wanting the snow back and - dare one say it, imps hearing them say it. Of course the children wanted the snow, they got to play in it. Their parents did not much care for snow at all, it interfered with work and it was cold. Naturally the imps obliged the children having something of the child in themselves.
But with Ophelia's project being behind time, a certain sprite was listening very hard. The builders wished there had not been the bad weather, so did Ophelia. They wished, like Ophelia that they had more time, but the client wanted the building done in the time specified. There was overtime and that cost. There was the extra cost of the machinery. Ophelia altered some of the design where she could to make the building quicker to finish but still safer and as beautiful as it could be.
"We really could do with time outside the building site just stopping for about a month," the exasperated contractor told Ophelia that morning.
"Oh I wish it would," she said.
She heard a faint crackly chuckle and thought no more of it... until she came to leave the site and time had stopped. People did not pass by, they were frozen in the middle of what they were doing. Ophelia backed nervously onto the site again and called the contractor. At his exclamation, several of the builders turned to look and were shocked to see that Time had stopped outside the site.
It is typical of the contractor and his builders that they instantly organised the site for immediate use. There were bedrooms of a sort set up, toilets and a kitchen. The people were organised into groups to deal with everything. Fortunately there was a well stocked cafe on the site, purely by accident. The contractor sat for a while in the office and considered his wish. It occurred to him that Ophelia had wished what he had suggested and he grinned at the thought.
"Don't you worry love," he told Ophelia, "We have a month to catch up, so let's use it as best we can."
Ophelia was at too much of a loss to do anything other than agree. She nodded and the work continued to her original plans. The organising was phenomenal, the work went ahead with vigour and suddenly at the end of that month the building was finished. Noise, which had been absent from outside of the site continued as life continued. The sprite who had stopped Time for a month out of mischief was most disgusted that mischief had not been done. Indeed it had done the builders a favour if anything. He packed up what little he had and left for Tunbridge Wells to see if he could upset a retired colonel instead.
The builders and Ophelia went home. Ophelia never, ever wished for anything again. She had realised that if you are not careful what you wish for you just may get it.