Raising his left wrist to check his watch, James gave out a cry of horror. His beloved mechanical watch, had lost it’s hands, it was dead, no longer ticking.
“Miss,” he said to the young woman sitting next to him, “could you please tell me what time it is?”
She looked at him questioningly, as if she did not understand the question.
“What time is it?” James repeated his question.
“Sir, I am sorry, but I don’t really know what you mean” was all he got as an answer.
Strange, why does she not understand my question? He glanced over onto her tablet, where he expect to see the time indicated, there was just a big smiley.
“Do you know when we will be arriving?” he went on, in hopes that the beautiful blonde would understand this question.
“Well Sir, we will be arriving when we will arrive” she said with a pitiful smile. “For now, we are on the train, live the moment!”
Live the moment, a phrase he had heard many times before. He had always been plotting ahead, trying to plan his future as much as he could. And here, no one seemed to care about the future.
“You are very wise for your age, my child. Can I ask you how old you are?”
She smiled at him, shaking her head “where are you from? You use so many words I have never even heard before.”
“What do you mean?” he asked taken aback, had he asked the wrong question? He was not at all trying to hit on her or something like that, after all James was a foreigner in these strange lands.
“I have never heard the words ‘time’ and ‘age’ before.”
“Oh, er, I see.” he stammered.
After what felt like hours, the train rolled into the station. He stepped out of the wagon, and looked around, his eyes searching for a clock. But there was no clock. Even though this seemed to be a huge train station, he did not see a single person in a hassle, no one seemed stressed or worried.
As the loudspeaker crackled, James sharpened his ears to make out what was said.
“Please, those of you traveling to Losange, please board the train now on platform 16”. There was no mentioning of when the bloody train would leave.
More and more worried, James hurried over to a newsstand in the big entry hall of the station. Taking a look at the papers, none of them seemed familiar. Worst of all though, there were no dates on the title pages. Glancing through the news, he could not spot a single time the words yesterday, tomorrow, or even last or next year.
Clearing his throat, James approached the man sitting next to the cash register. “Excuse me, I have just arrived. And I have no idea how many hours I have spend on that train of mine. I wanted to ask you for the time, as well as todays date.”
The face of the sales person went blank with puzzlement. “I am not quite sure what you mean.”
“I just want to know if I am late or early for my appointment, thus I wanted to know today’s date, and well the time it is now, is it morning, afternoon? I went to sleep in the train, and I don’t know for how long.”
“Good, for you that you slept, we should always sleep when it is necessary!” the man said with a big grin on his face.
Why does no one understand my questions? James thought to himself.
Minutes later, or at least what James considered to be minutes, he was standing outside of the beautiful station, and right away spotted a limousine driver holding his name on a sign. Climbing into the car, his eyes searched for the clock, a sign that time still existed.
“What time is it?” he asked once more, with a lot less confidence than before.
“Oh, that thing everyone asks me when they come from your world” the chauffeur started answering. “You all worry about the same thing, the thing you call time. Then you guys go on about yesterday, tomorrow, age and what not. But you know, all of those words, don’t exist here.”
James felt his heart racing faster, “what do you mean, these words don’t exist here? You sure have time, days? Don’t you celebrate birthdays and such things?”
“No we don’t” was the brief answer of the young man behind the steering wheel.
After he turned the key, he went on: “Through my job I have learned a few things. Time might still be important for you now, but you will start learning to live without it”.
“How can you say such an atrocity?” James was shocked, a planner by nature, time was sacred.
“You people always regret what you call the past, plan for what you call the future.” James nodded consentingly, as his driver went on, “But, you know. Here these things don’t matter, they don’t exist here we don’t have time, we only have the present moment, we only live now.”
“How do you manage?” James interjected.
“Just listen to me. Days, months, and what do you call them, years? They all don’t exist. Live in the here and now! Live without worrying about your future, live without regretting your past.”
“But how will I know when I will go back home, when my mission here is over?” the impatience in his voice could not be overheard.
“Live in the now, live in the present moment, and then only then you will be able to go back home.”
Dropping James off at his hotel, he added: “and remember, here time does not exist, that’s why you were sent here.”
by Solveig Werner
This is the 4th post on my blog that evolves around time, you might have fun checking out the others too.