I have grown accustomed to the ticking time

I have grown accustomed to the ticking time

Echoes ravishingly reverberated through empty corridors, between troubled trees, and over raging rapids, demanding to be heard and known no matter the circumstance. Guttural and prominent, the noises were unavoidable, transforming the listener to a chained prisoner.

With hands as big as a pebble, I leaned into the noise out of childlike curiosity. Unknowingly, I became yet another previously mentioned prisoner, but I continued to tune in—to listen in order to satiate that cursed curiosity—to these strange ticking sounds as if they were a radio station. They stood out beneath the layers of conversation around me, beneath the collective clamoring sounds, as they commanded my ear.

I was just a child—practically a toddler—at the time; I had subscribed to something I could not understand. But brewing in my mind, demanding and insisting and pressuring, it remained.

Alphabet blocks, worn with play, littered my childhood room as a motley of blinking lights and cacophonous beeps entertained my limited mind. I sat between my jungle of toys without a second thought of tumultuous ticking as I built castles from my dreams.

These leisurely clicks dictated my every move even while I dreamt, read, and wandered with a toy in hand.

But they were slow at the beginning—barely audible as if it was a secret whisper I could tell no one else about. Cementing itself in the back of my mind as a ponderous hum, one never too strident or sharp, these ticks camouflaged in my childhood. I had always presumed everyone else heard it too. It was just something we didn’t talk about.

Secretive ticking, secretive noises, secretive life.

Vivid blocks gave way “just-like-you” dolls as my hands grew according to my age. Declarations of no longer being a child now that I’m proud to be an age in the double digits replaced nursery rhymes and bedtime stories. As the two candles were lit with fulgent fire and my breath exhaled to extinguish it all and usher in my near era of life, I remember the birthday chant being sung by my closest friends.

I remember their cheers when my face huffed and puffed to blow the candles out. I remember their laughs as the candles unmasked themselves as a trick; I remember the celebration and glossy joy.

I remember the ticking even then.

Compared to earlier years, it had begun to speed up. Not too noticeable at first—the ticking had augmented itself gently with time—I was unaware of the restrictions it was slowly integrating.

For those years, the ones where the ticking had shuttled me out of my innocent childhood, every tick made me move. It was subtle at first; it was like a beat in my mind. Yet it was becoming prominent, challenging me to listen as if my life depended on it.

Secretive ticking, secretive noises, secretive life.”

So I picked up my pace, staying in line with those dominant ticks, as I threw scant glances toward the unknown, desperate to find the source.

With a source still unknown and foreign, the ticking stands with me today. Vigorously wrapping my mind within time-sensitive chains, I have further trapped myself in it. Everything has become so warped from my faultless decision as a young child.

As I write, as I attempt to sleep, and as I simply begin to take a moment to breathe, I feel a vehement pressure to move. More deafening than ever, all I can hear are those cursed ticks as if an eternal clock is running the show.

I fear that ticking, the ones that have been with me for too many years, so I work and work to stay within brisk ticks. It’s as if my future and, dare I say my life, depends on this clock.

And I cannot stop it.

There is no way to slow down, to enjoy the moment when that ticking is amplified by the people around me. It’s a pressure much larger than myself and devilishly out of reach.

I can thank the continuous noise for motivating, for being a so-far lifelong companion, but I would just like a second to stop.

I would like to stop that ticking, to not feel the pressure, to just simply breathe freely for one spare moment, please.