I had to chuckle to myself when I read the sign over the weathered door: New Beginnings for Old Things. This old thing was long past starting anything anew. An old chair can be reupholstered, a scratched table refinished, but nothing can restore an old man. Sure, people know how to replace worn-out parts. Knees, hips, even hearts are replaceable, but no matter how many new components you have, you’re still old. Okay, maybe I’m being overly cynical as old people often are. The sign had aroused my curiosity, so I went inside.
The shelves lining the walls of the tiny store overflowed with used items. Upon closer inspection, I could tell there was an actual pattern to the seemingly random chaos. Newer items of little or no value were placed in the shop’s front, while the more precious pieces lived in the back.
Against the back wall, separated from all the clutter and confusion, stood an enormous grandfather clock. It dominated the store. The clock’s massive case of hand carved mahogany with inlaid gold and ivory figures was intimidating. Its pendulum, a silver rod supporting a flat jade disc, swung rhythmically back and forth in sync with the movement of the clock’s hands. The clock face was made of onyx, cut emeralds formed the roman numerals and the tips of the hands had diamonds to show the time. It was a true masterpiece.
I strolled leisurely toward the clock, examining random objects. As I approached the rear of the store, the items became more familiar to me. An old baseball glove, a scuffed football, even a container of Lincoln Logs sparked memories of important possessions or events in my youth. The recollections were so vivid that I could swear it was all happening now. I kept walking toward the clock. The elegant time piece drew me to it like steel to a magnet. It seemed to call to me, inviting me to become one with it.
“Mr. Wilson.” I heard a faint voice calling my name. The female voice grew persistently louder until I had to open my eyes. A woman in a nurse’s uniform stood by the chair I was sitting in. A brief panic set in as I scanned the room and realized nothing looked familiar. What was this place? I had no recollection of coming here, nor did it look like a place I wanted to remain in.
“Who are you and where am I?” My voice betraying my concern. I tried to stand but found my legs had betrayed me and clumsily flopped back into my chair. Surrender appeared to be my only option.
“You know me, Mr. Wilson, I’m Gwen, your day nurse, and this is an extended care facility. It’s time to take your Alzheimer medication.”
She was so pleasant I couldn’t refuse. I took the pills. Their effect was almost instantaneous, and I promptly nodded off. There I was, back in the same shop, surrounded by objects from my past. The newer items: cell phones, computers, an electric toothbrush I only vaguely recognized, but the ones closer to the clock: black-and-white TV, a real-to-real tape recorder ignited my memory. The older the pieces were, the newer they appeared.
The clock chimed to announce the passing of another hour. I stared at the hands; they were moving backwards. It all made sense now. My mind was returning to the places and things that were important to me as a youth. As the clock moved in reverse, the present became less and less relevant as my old life became new again. It was time to return to the beginning.
About the Creator
I have spent most of my life traveling the US and abroad. Now it's time to create what I hope are interesting fictional stories.
I have 2 books on Amazon, Mitigating Circumstances and Short Stories for Open Minds.