A letter to time

Nyomi Fox

More stories from Nyomi Fox


Photo by Nyomi Fox

A clock resting idly against a wall. The clock represents time, but time is no longer important.

Dear Time,

Like a string around a yo-yo, my life used to revolve around you. You were the reason I lifted my disoriented self from bed in the morning and forced my stimulated eyes shut at night. You posed as a constitution to me, a distant authority I obeyed without question. Honestly, it was far more likely I would have protested the Founding Fathers’ Constitution than your God-like consistency. How I loved that consistency, the rhythmic tick-tock of the clock. Every hour was always 60 minutes, every minute was always 60 seconds. It didn’t matter if you were embodied by a phone, a car radio or a microwave.

I worshipped you.

Before now, I craned my neck around every corner to check your status: hour, minute, and second. Our relationship was toxic; I was dependent on you to tell me where to go—and when. You robbed me of my free will, leaving me programmed to your instruction.

You’re still here, but I find my mindless devotion faltering. Sometimes I miss you, but more often than not I forget you ever existed. Structured life is a faint memory. I wake up because sunlight seeps through my blinds, not because your blaring presence interrupts my fantastical dreams. I do not look for you, not on my phone, not on my wrist, not on my oven. You are not only distant; you are surreal.

Putting it frankly, you’re simply a thing of the past. I know this may be hard for you to comprehend, given that you once determined the past and future, but you’re surely not relevant in the present. You have no control over me. Aside from an optional Zoom appointment, I do not need to consider your digital message.

To fill your absence in my mind, I now worship the Sun, as the Incas did way-back-when. I admire her in lofted beauty, waiting for her to rise and fall so I can do the same. When she sinks below the ground, my mood dampens. You, Mr. Time, restricted me into institutionalized confinement. It may seem like I am restricted by the new laws, but with the sun, I am free.

Furthermore, I’ve learned to worship my meals. They motivate me to finish my tasks before I am rewarded with the heavenly gift of food. Specifically carbs. Do you know what used to motivate me? The deadlines you imposed so inconsiderately. As if I couldn’t manage on my own. But with food, the deadline is edible goodness. And it’s lenient because food understands that a strict deadline results in more stress than self-determination.

I hope you are not offended, because it’s not you. But it’s also not me. In this situation, you are irrelevant. Without places to be or people to see you have no hold over me. For the time being, I hope that you understand my perspective and applaud my liberation from your structured schedule. Free from you, I am a better woman.

Nyomi Fox