Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Grandfather Clock

I wrote this for a dear friend some time back after he told me about the grandfather clock.
Glancing around for the last time, Joseph walked hesitantly down the stairs. The rooms were empty now. Rooms that had previously been filled with love and laughter, chaos and noise, now abandoned. Rooms that had overflowed with furniture -- living and family room sets, bedroom and dining room sets -- all empty.
Midway down, Joseph stopped and gazed at the only piece of furniture left in the four bedrooms, two-story home – a grandfather clock. But it too, would soon be gone.
No ticking. No tocking. Dead. Like his marriage, the pendulum no longer moved. It had stopped seven months earlier -- the day his wife told him the marriage was over. Joseph had deliberately never rewound it again.
It was December, the day after Christmas. His marriage had died, perhaps slowly; perhaps he saw it coming but denied it was happening. It didn’t really matter anymore. Nothing would ever be the same again.
Now, only three things were certain, his wife wanted out of the marriage, he no longer belonged there and he had to leave.
Could it be possible? Could 22 years of marriage be over?
Taking the final steps down, his heart ached. He could almost see and hear the children -- one boy, one girl – running up the stairs, laughing and playing. But they weren’t there. They were all grown up and gone.
Desiree and Derrick were young adults with lives of their own. He would always be their father, and he would always be there for them. That, he knew was a certainty. That love would never die. The thought gave his heart a lift.
At the door, Joseph switched off the light. Darkness engulfed the home. Darkness engulfed his heart. Would light ever come again? Would he ever find happiness again? He didn’t believe so.
He didn’t want to drive away and not look back, yet he knew he had no choice.
Not knowing where to go, Joseph drove with a heavy heart towards chimes ringing faintly in the distance.
He didn’t know it, but his heart was heading in the right direction.


  1. That's very well done. I can never manage to write short stuff very effectively like this. Good job. (And I'm not just saying that, either!)

  2. Anonymous6:48 AM

    Very nice, Esther, especially the ending. Chimes in the distance.... It made me smile.

  3. This is beautiful...thats the only word i found really.....
    Great Job!

  4. I'm glad it ended on a note of optimism. :)

  5. Thanks, everyone. I enjoying writing this short piece. I was touched when Joseph was sharing the last time he saw his home when the divorce was final. The home had been sold and everything was out, except the clock (his ex was returning for it later).

    It really left an impression on me and I wanted to capture it in a story. He was touched when he read it.

    matt/blade: thank you for the nice compliments.

    jason: I live three blocks from a beautiful Catholic church and the chimes ring every 30 minutes - I heard them when I was writing this and quickly added them in. Thanks.

    frank:*sigh* - the sad part is, I don't know what ever happened to him. He is the same man from my "Once upon a time" post (May 11)

  6. Very well done, Esther. :)