by Cheyanne Beaumont
Somewhere, a ticking clock clicks, tck tck tck. Each second a countdown for the unknown, or the regret of now knowing. It’s subjectivity is not up for debate. Especially when Time can feel so heavy. I don’t know what urges time to move faster or slower, I think truly, like most things, emotions get to decide. The toss of a coin and the pull from a hat, a lot can happen in just fifteen minutes.
The middle of June was sweltering. You could practically watch steam rise off the black top. Thank goodness most graduation parties were inside. Soda cans were jammed in ice buckets, salads and sandwiches were out on tables, and a house was packed to the gills with teenagers from the same class. Most teenagers probably wish that the treacherous four years of high school ended in what felt like fifteen minutes, for others, it seemed like it did. My close friend group couldn’t wait to graduate and the party was for my closest friend. Music reverberated through the house, gold streamers attached to the ceiling, shook. I can just picture the smile on my best friend’s face, Toxic by Britney Spears playing, and thoroughly enjoying her time. A celebration is what it was.
I was back at home, I couldn’t make it for some reason, I think I was working in the afternoon and couldn’t make it? The details are blurry. I do however, remember everything so vividly up until that one moment. It was an old eighties movie, like Weird Science, or something. My mom and I had just finished dinner. A good steak, asparagus, and homemade biscuits. All cultivated through the labor of love. The movie had been funny, cute even. Bright synth soundtracks and spontaneous drum fills that watched now warranted a childlike giggle. We used to watch old movies together all the time. While cooking I didn’t have my phone on me. Something about sticky flour dough and touching my phone didn’t mix. And as I sat down to eat dinner and watch that stupid, funny movie, I laughed and bantered all while missing the notification on my phone.
After my ignorant insolence, I finally glanced over. A group chat notification and two private messages. All the while, the graduation party was still in a congregation. Some had passed away. I can’t clearly recall who sent what or exactly how everyone found out. At seventeen, you really wonder if it’s a prank. Hell, maybe even just lingo. “Hahah I’m dead.” was overwhelmingly common at the time. I remember stopping everything, solemnly zoning out followed by that uncomfortable swollen feeling as tears brimmed my eyes. I slowly dragged myself to my bedroom. And wept. All while news articles flooded my phone and across town the party ceased to be a celebration any longer.
My friend told me that as the news came, the party left. She had her mom go ahead and whisper in the ears of relatives and ask them to leave. Some of our close friends stayed, others dispersed to be alone. Music stopped and open soda cans went flat. The pressure of life set in just as for many of us, it was about to begin. It was seemingly so bizarre that just fifteen minutes ago, our realities were untouched by the reaper’s love affair with time. That less than an hour ago we had some structure to our lives. Much like the leaning tower of Piza, grounded, semi-stable, but remove a pillar and see how it will collapse. In a short fifteen minutes, I felt my own sense of time deconstruct itself and try to put itself back together again. I still don’t know if it pieced itself back together correctly.
That feeling of fifteen minutes is comparable to the end of your last class, seemingly going on forever. Seriously, can it hurry up. And it can be like the last fifteen minutes of a Quentin Tarantino movie. But it’s also summer nights at age nine, spending time with friends until the street lights come on. Hating that it went by so fast and came to an end. It’s that fluttery feeling in your stomach when you’re nervous to send a text. Then you proceed to check your phone every minute for an answer. You can swear it was the longest fifteen minutes of your life. It’s the time taken up scrolling aimlessly on social media and finding posts to make you laugh. Then sharing it so you and a friend can spend another fifteen minutes just laughing at it. Sometimes, it's the duration of long rants and conversations about things you're passionate about. But sometimes, fifteen minutes is all it takes for a fragment in time, to change your life forever.
Somewhere, a ticking clock clicks, tck tck tck. Each second a countdown for the unknown, or the regret of now knowing. It’s subjectivity is not up for debate. Especially when Time can feel so light. I don’t know what urges time to move faster or slower, I think truly, like most things, emotions get to decide. The toss of a coin and the pull from a hat, a lot can happen in just fifteen minutes.