One Minute

A short story

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One Minute

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The girl stood frozen in the hallway of her school, a flurry of other students about her like a flock of birds.  The little bronze watch ticked on her arm. She liked to hold it up to her ear and hear the tick tick tick. There is a strange solace in the steady passage of time.

Tick tick tick. It was a little wind-up watch that didn’t need a battery. Its appearance was unremarkable, dull even. It had no sheen. It did not glisten in the sunlight. She would wind the watch up every morning, turning the small knob on the side until it clicked, letting her know that it was ready to measure her day. Tick tick tick.

The bell rang and she was late, approximately one minute late. She scurried down the hall like a mouse.

She sat in her desk, facing the teacher’s harsh stare from the front row. Her eyes hit the floor, away from the stone cold gaze. The girl hated sitting in the front row. She glanced down at her little bronze watch. Tick tick tick. If only I could set back time. 

She gently pinched the knob on the watch with her fingers, pulling it out, then twisting it. The little hand glided backwards, exactly one minute.

The bell was ringing. She glanced at the watch on her wrist.  Tick tick tick. She was late for class. She sat down. If only I could set back time. If only, if only, if only. 

She set the watch back one minute.
The bell was ringing.
If only I could set back time. If only, if only, if only…

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