Time and Time Again

By: S.J. Swoap

No one has more time and less use of it than a living man with a dead wife.

He sat in the movie theater, not looking at the empty seat beside him, the only empty seat in the theater. He stared instead at his watch, a fiftieth anniversary gift.

Four minutes from that theater was the high school where they’d met, and he’d asked if she had an evening free to see a movie with him.

He’d bought her a ticket to that showing and this one too.

Three more minutes down the road was the church where he’d worn a black suit and she a white dress, and they’d both said, “I do.”

The lights dimmed.

Two minutes’ walk around the corner was the house where’d they’d spent their minutes together.

It was a reshowing of that same movie they’d watched on their first date in high school.

One minute farther was the hospital where she’d lain in bed, he’d held her hand, and the nurse had said, “push,” and he’d cradled their baby boy; next to it was the train station where the boy, grown now, had gone off to war never to return; and there’s the hospital again, her in the bed again, he’d held her hand again, but somber then; and the church again, in a black suit again, tears then, and roses laid on a grave.

He looked up from his watch as the show started. He had all the time in the world now.