Most Likely to Stop the Clock
HER: Sometimes it happens overnight. I woke up like this. I just didn't notice until midway through my morning shower when the world stopped but the water kept flowing. I heard them yelling again, loud enough to disrupt my quiet bathroom thoughts and I had enough. I heard something crash and the murmurs roar. The dogs sounded and then, midbark silence. I clicked the water off to get a better sense of what I thought I heard, or rather, what was absent from my ears. I only had one leg shaved but I wasn't going to see him until later so I knew I could just get back in. Right now I headed to find out why the world stopped. I pulled my towel around me and went out to verify the silence. I opened the door from the bathroom to find everything still. She was still holding the coffee pot. I marveled at my parents floating like statues. Quiet, frustrated shells of what they were in that moment. Cicadas hovering a few inches off the ground. I approached our rottweiler lingering at Mom's feet with his eyes fixated on Dad, who had unleashed the veins in his neck. I wonder what words I caught in mid-air, what I shielded mom from. What I did? How did I know it was me? I did this? I was just in the shower and heard the madness again so I thought to myself, "Ahhh, make it stop." And that was it. Time terminated (or is it just levitating like they are?). I spin around and squeeze my eyes shut, a-pinch-to-see-if-its-real-moment. It is. Drips of drool splash at the kitchen floor from my dog's jaws and my mind starts accelerating pace. Shit. Now I'm panicking in only a towel with a bit of conditioner still left on the end of my hair. I better get dressed in case I need to get out of here. On the surface this is a mess that has rocked my world, but deep down, I feel something different.
HIM: I walked the block a few times before I felt it happen. I knew I didn't need to be with her to know she's capable of freezing time the span of the city if she wanted to. If she trusts herself. That's usually the turning point in teenagers. The reason mental disorders like bipolar don't start to emerge until around that time. They need a stronger sense of self and enough maturity to sense it. Develop their sense enough to start shifting the world. I was kiddy corner from her block when I saw life on the street freeze before me. Holy shit, bravo dear. You did it, finally, I thought to myself. I basically skipped there, smiling, past the morning joggers and around the UPS driver mid delivery. I wonder what's inside that package. I could peek if I had the time. It's still eery how quiet everything is, but the birds. The birds don't freeze but they are affected. They sense it but are somehow immune to it; although it does seem to do something different to the crows (More on that later). I've been keeping an eye on her for so many years, but that was just to protect here. Now that it's her 18th birthday, it's time to introduce myself. Because now that stopping time comes with the territory, so do I. It's the two-for-one BOGO special she never dreamed of.
HER: Now that the dogs are quiet and the screaming stopped, I can hear the birds again. Even though my heart is beating out of my chest, enough that I'm almost unable to tie my Vans. I can hear them chirping, squawking, warning. One small wren sits perched by my window gawking at me like a creepy knock-off version of that helpful animatronic one in Mary Poppins. Maybe she could stop time, too? Wait. Now I hear something else. A door slam? Shit. I barely had the time to process what's happened and it's already over? I peek out from my room and pull my wet hair up, twirling it into a quick top knot and securing it with my scrunchies while tiptoing back out the hallway. The light casts a shadow against the walls with taunting movements, but my parents are still still. "Happy birthday." A faceless voice calls out, triggering a fear wave inside so fierce I'm almost knocked flat on my ass. "Who's there fool?" I call out with fake-it-til-you-make-it confidence and and a prickly exterior. A shadow calls into the hallway door, humming the tune I thought I was delirious about hearing before. He moves a step forward and the light reveals familiar feature of a face I've seen a few times before. "I'm your watcher," he says in a way that's less creepy than it sounds.
His presence is comforting actually. Although anything living and breathing would be compared to this wax museum before me. I don't remember the number of fights I've witnessed or the hours I spent under my bed waiting for it to stop, but after a few minutes of admiring them with him standing in silence beside me, it all came rushing back. Crystalizing like stalagmites around the living room den. I was Elsa, Queen of Trailer Trash, tapping into the powers to the see my seedy past. More clearly, like the Frozen sequel, I have evolved into a more self-aware version of who I once was. And holy shit, I might even have real super powers. I can't even be on time for anything but now I can stop time? Maybe it's a glitch, some kind of life simulation test (which could explain why they are floating?). Or an overindulgent Baz Lurhmann dream sequence. I'm panicking again, so I kick over the ottoman, but nothing happens. Dad is still frozen above the carpet in resting jerk face (why isn't that a thing?) I picked up a coffee cup with the forgotten remainder of this morning's pot, shattering it in a splash across the coffee table. Shit. No reaction and now I have a real mess to clean up.
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