Zöe said, “Time is running out? What does that mean, Ryan? Are you OK? You’re not …”
“Terminally ill?” Ryan finished her thought.
“No, I’m not ill. I’m OK,” Ryan said.
He continued, “It’s just that the notion of time weighs on me. I’ve been aware of time all my life and how it … interrupts things.”
Zöe looked puzzled. Ryan loved Zöe’s Puzzled Look. Her eyes narrowed and she turned her head slightly to the right. It was similar to her Annoyed Look , narrowed eyes, head down, lips tightened. Totally different from her Highly Delighted Look, eyes closed to slits, head tilted back, gasping for air, voice squeaking as she inhaled.
Zöe’s many quirks endeared her to Ryan. He loved them all, but worried that in time they would transmute from adorable to annoying. He put that thought away. Another time, another time.
Ryan worried that he worried. That was a long time ago. Ryan had managed to convert worry to concern and concern to awareness. Ryan was aware, very aware. And one thing Ryan was keenly aware of was time. He drifted back to the 8th grade. Rebecca. His first crush.
Rebecca. Dark, black hair. Hazel eyes. Smart, bright and funny in her own way. Cracked up at his jokes. Accepted Ryan for the dorky kid he was. Rebecca was easy, she was smooth and Ryan couldn’t imagine a world without Rebecca.
Ryan had it all planned out. He would spend the summer creating this awesome book for Rebecca filled with poems, drawings, flower pressings - just an awesome book he was going to call “Rebecca.” He was going to present it to her in August on her birthday and confess his crush.
Ryan’s father announced to the family in the middle of summer that he had been transferred (whatever that meant) and that the family would be moving to another city in July.
Ryan was devastated. He screamed at his parents for ruining his life, threw tantrums, threatened to never eat again and, ultimately, moved to another city in July.
His mother found the Rebecca scrapbook. “Do you want to pack this,” she asked?
Ryan looked at it. Dreams drifting as smoke from an extinguished candle.
“No,” he said, “it’s just a school project. Doesn’t matter. Toss it.”
He never saw Rebecca again.
Ryan thought he had all the time in the World. All the time in the Universe. All the time in Time. Rebecca would be there, in time, and he would give her the scrapbook, in time, and she would look into his eyes with understanding and be with him through time.
For Ryan, though, time ran out. The last grain of sand from the cosmic hourglass tumbled out and time was over. For Ryan, time ran out.