This Machine Runs on Your Time


Sydney Francis woke up at noon. I know this because I am watching her. I’m always watching her. That’s why I see her all the time. I’m kind of like Santa Claus or God or one of those people who always sees everything except I only see everything about Sydney Francis.

Before she woke up she was sleeping one of her two usual ways; on her back with her mouth half open and her leg bent at the knee forming a good impression of a forty five-degree angle. The other way is on her side and she makes this pouty face and pushes her adorable ass out and it’s almost too cute for words. But it’s that first way that really blows my mind.

So she was sleeping with her leg bent, making a teepee of the bed sheet right before she jolted up and gasped for breath.

I had been inventing the dream she jolted out of for the last few hours, but who can be certain, time is relative. Hours, minutes, days, weeks, it’s hard to keep track of it and what’s the difference?

Who knows, you probably think it matters. Most people measure it all out in time but I think that’s a scam. This machine runs on your time. So I stopped wearing a watch. I threw out my cell phone a while ago. I measure it out in moments, in visions had, in dreams invented.

I measure it out in Sydney’s dreams, in my visions of her still and awake. I measure it out in the sharp angle of Sydney’s knee bent while she is sleeping on her back, in the curve of her spine when she sleeps on her side, in her fingernails clipped and painted, in the loose threads of hair that cling to her pillowcase, in her gasps in the night, in long looks in the bathroom mirror, in cries for help muted by the glass between us, in the messages she’s written in fog on the window.   I measure it out in moments that have moved me that cannot be confiscated by time, cannot be scooped out of the air with delicate nets and pinned down like some pitiful butterfly behind glass. I’ve forgotten time, cast it out like the snakes; stubbed it out like a borrowed cigarette because in the end there is only Sydney and our secret transmissions, there is only Sydney and the curve of her spine and the angle of her knee, there is only Sydney asleep in the warm, honeyglow of the morning.

~ fin ~

Nicholas Rys is a writer, teacher and musician who lives in the woods of Ohio.  His work has previously appeared in Entropy and on Enclave's blog.