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A Time To Love (A short story)
This is a story composed with the word ‘time’.
Since I left Carlo everything seemed to have happened once upon a time. At seasonable and unseasonable times, in my time, I could cope with unexpected guests. But times change.
And so did Jane.
She arrived in time for lunch - she has not done that for a long time.
“To be honest to each other has been our custom for a very long time,” she said after we've exchanged the polite clichés. “And you know time after time honesty strengthens our friendship. For a long time we ignored each other, haven't we? So this morning I woke up with a clear thought about us in my mind: It is high time for me to pay you a visit.”
“To discuss what, Jane?” Since the time we met she employed too much of her time to my personal affairs.
“Carlo, of course.”
“I really don’t have time to dig up dead cows,” I told her. “You know I’ve raced against time since the day I’ve entered adulthood. I’m telling you this all the time. I’m busy… I spend my time…”
She interrupted me: “Making money like Carlo. You are birds of a feather. Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten all about him?”
“Of course not, at no time. But, please, I don’t want to talk about him,” I stressed for the umpteenth time.
“At different times, even ungodly times, I’ve told you how wrong you are, Liz, about Carlo. Many a time I begged you to reconsider your attitude towards him. At one time I even cried.”
“Half the time you did not know your brother, Jane. For him time was money and…. women.”
“But in the meantime he loved you, only you,” she almost convinced me with tears in her eyes. “And now… I want you to be abreast of times… Carlo needs your forgiveness. His time is running out. It is time for him to go. Please take some time off for him, will you?”
I always believed that there is a time and a place for everything, and I realised it was time to see Carlo again. I always knew it was only a matter of time before Life will force me to see him again. Still I tried to gain time. I spent some time in the mountains. It was a good time to do that, a fine time. Since time immemorial I could find peace in those cool shades of the pines.
For the first time in my life I realised that I’ve actually cherished the difficult times with Carlo. I had to serve time in prison, my subconscious mind convinced me, because I was not with my mother at the time of her death, but in the mountains with friends. I regarded Carlo as my well-deserved punishment. He gave me the hard time I needed to outgrown my guilt. I did not register the good times we had.
Time sure heals; Time is a component of God, the great healer.
As time went on I prepared myself for my date with Carlo, pondering over times gone by. I knew if I had the time over again, I would wanted Carlo to be my husband.
It was a rainy day when I left for the airport. In the nick of time I’ve decided to wear white and red, Carlo’s favourite colours. The time for departure was at seven, and the plane was dead on time. I was nervous, like always at odd times. All the time, even while walking, I dug in my handbag, looking for something I couldn’t find. Memories of the first time I fly overwhelmed me. At the time I was thirty-five, on my way to a conference, uprooted, because my father died a few days before. He was the reason why I didn’t leave Carlo. To him I wanted to prove myself and my ability to be successful, particularly as Carlo's wife. After his funeral I had no reason to be married. It was the most difficult time in my life, in mourning for everything I’ve buried. Since then, in certain aspects, I was not able to make fast time.
“Have you got the time?” the man next to me in the plane asked with alcohol on his breath.
It was not my time of day for idle talk, so I gestured ‘no’, and for the umpteenth time I realised that it was rude and intolerant of me for not having time for people smelling like wineries in the early hours of a day. Why not take time by the forelock and do some research, I tried to motivate myself to be nice while he was taking his time to get comfortable. I had to create an alcoholic character in a play to be presented by the drama department. But like many times I did not listen to myself; I killed the time in the air by writing a poem.
Time out of mind
You were not mine
Only in misty dreams
You came to me.
We’ve met in due time
Had a whale of a time
Yes that was the time when
I thought happiness never end.
Too romantic was our space
of time snuggled in lace
Groom and bride we shine
Products of the time.
Seven times seven
We spent in heaven
Ever so many times
You were just mine.
It was time well-spent
When we needn’t to repent
Then the ravages of time
Brought us to the steep incline
Nine times out of ten
I shared you with them
Most of the time
You were not mine.
We haven’t stood the test
of time, we were not the best
You gave me a rough time
You made me whine.
I tried to keep time
Pretended I’m fine
Proper time to run
Was yet to come.
Stubborn in denial
I played for time
All the time, however
I hated you forever.
Then came the troubled times
Lonely, unhappy, unquiet times
Time was ripe for smoking
The pipe of rueful regretting.
Time ran out
Cold I am with fear
Our time is drawing near.
At the appointed time and place
We will once again embrace
We'll retrace our love
Ourselves in time above.
Maybe it's a sign of the times
To forgive each other in time
At last in the fullness
Of time we might share our wholeness.
Normally I arrive on time for appointments, but for Carlo I was way ahead of time. I decided to beguile some time in the garden. I remembered our golden rule: “Expect to be surprised at all times.”
Time was dragging, but I had all the time in the world. Perhaps I was too willing to bide my time, for I had no idea what the opportunity would be. A minute before time I felt an anxiety attack creeping up, squeezing the life out of my heart. This is not an opportune time to fall, flee or fight, I realised while forcing myself to walk as fast as I could towards the front door, down the corridor, up the stairs, down another corridor, all the way to Carlo.
He was on the balcony, looking down on the garden I came from. I considered asking for time, for I needed more time, but by the time he noticed me, I was my collected self.
He: Hallo, Liz! Long time no see.
Me: Yes, it has been a long time. But the time flied. I saw in the papers you did not waste any time, you’ve made the big time.
He: It took me a long time, and it was a rough time, while you seemed to have a royal time? But, as you said, time marched.
Me: I did not really keep track of the time. I got, sort of, mentally stuck in the good old times… when we had the time of our life. Remember… those smashing times?
He: Yes, it did last for some time. I’ve called you times without number, Liz, leaving messages you ignored. The last two times I’ve even threatened you. I thought the third time I might be lucky. And if not, I planned to take time off to go and see you. At the same time I knew you might slam the door in my face.
Me: I wanted to call you lots of times. To be honest, from time to time I did call you, but you were unfortunately… or perhaps fortunately, not available. I really had a lively time, Carlo. You know me, I always have too many irons in the fire. Today as well… I can’t stay too long, my time is limited. You know... my life… always a race against time.
He: So why now, all of a sudden, you have time for me?
Me: I guess this is the time for me to be here. Don’t you think I’m well in time for your birthday tomorrow?
He: Oh, I did not mean to be sarcastic. I just happened to fall on bad times. I’m having a difficult time, a thin time, a tough time, a hard time…. rough! For quite some time now I realise the time to change has come. I’ve tried a few times… But time and time again... You know me, I am nothing but a punk. Perhaps tomorrow, while spending some time with you, I might... Liz, will you find some time to organise snacks and drinks? I would like to spend some quality time with you... like those times in the mountains.
Me: Do you have a specific time in mind?
He: Any time. I’ve got stacks of time.
Me: Okay, I have to go, time is getting on.
He: Wait! Liz! We've got to make up for lost time. Let’s lose no time. Please, in less than no time, I’ll have to go west. I haven’t all that much time. Time and tide wait for no man. Though there is still time for us. Perhaps only a short time. But any time with you will feel like an eternity for me.
Me: Carlo, I need time…
He: Take your time. For the time being I will thank God for you.
I knew it was only a matter of time, and in the course of time I will once again know that the most precious time will always be the present.
© Martie Coetser
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