Chronos (End)

Pete was starting his meal with the white corn soup and she was trying the heirloom tomato gazpacho when Lily told him she thought the most powerful god was Morpheus. “Yeah. God of Sleep,” she confirmed, leaning over her bowl. “Everybody seems to want to nap, to sleep in, to sleepwalk through life on drugs or on autopilot. Yeah. Sleep is very seductive… but I don’t get it. Why aren’t people resisting? They can sleep when they’re dead.”

Lily realizes as she recalls this that she is often like that with him, coming at him out of nowhere with one of her ideas. He fields well, though. That is one of the things she likes about him. They seem to think at the same rate. Pete had looked up at her, smiled, and tipped his wristwatch at her. “I don’t know,” he said. “It may be time instead of sleep. I mean,” and he leaned back against his chair, straining his white shirt across his medium-sized middle-aged paunch, “I always look forward to the weekend thinking I’m going to sleep in, relax, take it totally easy, and 45 minutes into that I’m bored and looking for something to do. No, I don’t think it’s really sleep we want. I think it’s time away from this taskmaster,” and he rolled his wrist again.

“But you’re self-employed! You’re the boss; you have a lot of control over your schedule.”

“Yeah, but I can’t ask others to be in the office at 9 and then not be there myself. Maybe it’s the old army habits, but I feel very controlled by work time.”

Lily stops pacing and lets her body drop into a chair. It’s getting to where she can’t take the silence. She wishes her father would come home, no matter what he has to say. She’s about to try Pete again on the phone. As she reaches for the headset it rings.

“Hel-” she begins and she hears the beloved voice: “Mom?”

“Zachary?! Are you okay?”

“We’re fine. We got lost.”


“We forgot to hang the packs and I guess a bear got into them last night. We lost our compass. We got turned around hiking out.”

“Oh Zack. Is Eli all right?”

“We’re both fine. Just a little hungry. You know what saved us? My watch. Remember how you taught me to use it as a compass?”

“Ahh. When will you be home?”

“We’re on the way now. We’ll stop for a quick bite. See you in about four hours.”


Her father walks in seconds after she hangs up the phone. “Where are Zack and Eli?”

“On their way. They got delayed a little. Hey, Dad: want to wear your old watch?”

Lily’s father smiles at the timepiece as she hands it to him. Lifts his face and smiles wider at her. “It’s a nice watch,” he says and he sets it carefully on the table between them as he sits across from her. “You keep it.”

(Her father taught her: Any daytime but noon, aim the end of the hour hand at the sun. Find the spot halfway between the hour hand and the 12, and that’s south. Really.)

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