Short Story Series 4: Just a Matter of Time – Part 2

[…continued from Part 1]

William’s walk to his shop was usually casual. While working he was often hyper-focused, so he preferred to remain relaxed and open to discovery along his route, taking in sights as blurred as they were together with sounds and smells, just observing the moment in his outdoor environment. But on this particular day he was focused on the vision before him. His heart rate increased as he started walking again to match the woman’s gait. She was on a mission, not sauntering. He didn’t want to get to close for she might think he was stalking her. And it didn’t help that she left a trail of alluring perfume in the air.

As they approached the entrance to the town, the woman made a left turn onto Maple Street where William’s shop was located. He wondered if he would lose her and considered picking up his pace, but that seemed to him an unjustified action. So, he remained in the moment savoring the fragrance that lingered in the air. When it was his time to make a left turn, he slowed down considerably at the serendipitous moment that lay before him. The woman had stopped in front of his shop. At first she was looking through the window, shielding both sides of her eyes for a sharper view. Then she looked at her watch to discover the shop wouldn’t open for a few hours yet. Just then William, not quite yet at his shop’s premises, seized the moment and shouted ahead as he continued toward her,

“Good morning, Miss! Can I be of any assistance? You see, that’s my shop and I usually do not open the doors until 10AM.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, sir. I should like to come back later then.”

“Don’t be sorry. In fact, while I consider every moment of time to be priceless, I am never too rigid with schedules. Many a quality experience would be lost in its strict adherence,” Williams philosophized.

The woman quoted, “’The hours of folly are measured by the clock; but of wisdom…’”

And they both finished together, “…no clock can measure.”

“William Blake,” William said astonished! “I’m William Devereaux,” as he extended his hand to her.

“Dina Marcotta! A pleasure to meet you,” she countered as she shook his hand and smiled.

“Please come in and tell me how I can help you.”

“Are you sure?”

“Absolutely! Please!”

He unlocked the door, pushed it open and motioned for her to enter.

Dina walked into a wall of olfactory bliss; well, at least she thought so. For all the finished clocks in the room, there were an equal number of unfinished works in progress made from a variety of wood: pine, cedar, maple, oak, and many others. In addition, her exceptional sense detected various oils and finishes, as well as metals in the air from the clockworks.

Dina was a formally trained as a botanist with a special interest in dendrology, the scientific study of trees. She had a real appreciation for woods, not just in the growth and proliferation of the vegetable kingdom, but in their use as raw materials in art and functional instruments of humanity. She was clearly in a state of amazement.

“Oh, how lovely it is to be in your shop. I never knew there was such a place on this street.”

“It is my pride and joy. Are you looking to purchase a clock,” William asked?

“Actually, I am interested in having my parents’ grandfather clock restored to working condition as a gift to them. They still live in the house in which I grew up and not once in my recollection did I ever see that clock working. Now, that I can afford to do something nice for them, I wish to repair it.”

“That’s sweet,” William said. “What make of tall case clock is it?”

“Tall case?”

“Tall case is just a simpler trade term for a grandfather clock,” William answered.

“That’s the problem. I’m not sure and my parents don’t remember. They say it was passed down the generations from my great grandfather. But, I do have some pictures.”

“May I see?”

“Of course.”

Dina took out photos from a folder in her large black messenger bag and handed them to William.

Looking at the first picture of the tall case against a stairwell with a wooden banister he commented, “Beautiful piece.” The next picture startled him with mysterious delight.

“Very unusual face…WOWWW,” he exclaimed in a light whisper. “This is not just a clock face with sun and moon disks – it’s an astrolabe with the planets…Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune…there’s no Pluto…of course! Regardless of its planetary classification, the clock predates the discovery of Pluto in 1930, if it truly originated as far back as your great grandfather. Look! It  also has the positions of the constellations that comprise the zodiac. This is a phenomenal work of art.”

“It’s also very heavy. It is solid mahogany, not a veneered wood,” said Dina. “I was hoping that, if you were willing to restore it, you would be able to come and collect it or have someone who could transport it to your shop.”

“Certainly I can arrange something. I definitely would love to see this in person.”

“If you wish, you could look at it tonight at my parent’s house. They are visiting family out of state for the whole month which is why I am eager to have it restored at this time. I’ll give you the address and meet you there at 7pm. I live nearby. Better yet, William, why don’t you come by at 6pm for tea?” She took out a pen and scribbled something on a piece of paper and extended it to him.

“How about 6:30pm, he asked as he took the paper? “I usually close at 6pm and I’m expecting a customer to come by at closing time today.”

“Perfect,” Dina said.

“It sounds lovely, thank you, Dina.”

With a happy and positive outlook, Dina turned toward the door and looked back at William. Then she looked around the shop walls at all the clocks and let out a sigh of contentment, “I love your shop!”

To be continued…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *