My First Story of 2021
As 2020 became 2021 in a matter of seconds, I thought about time. I thought of how much more aware of time I am. I feel 2020 passed way too fast. I remembered Washington Irving’s story about Rip Van Winkle, of how he slept his time away. This made me think of Madeleine L’Engle’s book “A Wrinkle in Time,” too. And that’s how I got to the title of my first story of 2021.
A Rip Van Wrinkle In Time
Safe at last, Rip rests his dizzy head on his dirty jacket. It’s an old gray jacket that has seen much service as a pillow for Rip on his regular trips up the mountain.
The mountain air is crisp and clean—just the right kind of medicine for a man drunk on strange wine and sky music. He stares straight up at the clear blue afternoon sky hoping for an inspirational cloud to drift into view. He listens for his favorite song of wind running its fingers through the grass.
Rip yawns and rubs his left eye. It’s still aching from when the little man punched him. The punch surprised him because it hurt so much.
The taste of stolen wine still swirls around his mouth. He runs his tongue against his teeth and soft palate, wishing for more. He’s never tasted liquor this strong before. He only ever took a tiny sip here and a little nip there when he served the silent men their mugs of magical brew.
Unfortunately, they caught him stealing their drinks. He had to make an unexpected run for it after being punched, leaving his old dog and his favorite knife behind. He would go back for them after a brief nap.
Rip sighs deeply.
He takes out the old pocket watch he bought with money meant to feed his family. He listens to the tick-tock-teck of the hands and closes his eyes until the guilt fades along with his consciousness. He can still hear his wife’s angry voice from lunchtime…
“And where is the food for our dinner tonight?” she asked. Her soapy hands were on her hips.
“It was a real bargain. A beauty. I had to have it, my dear,” he said to his wife. She was always telling him to pay more attention to the time. And now he could.
“Your time will come! Your time will come,” she’d muttered over and over again. He couldn’t take the look of angry disappointment on her face.
“I’ll never be late again!” he shouted over his shoulder to his now-silent spouse. His two thin children peered out from behind her ragged skirts. Even though their clothes were rags, they still smiled and laughed at his strange stories. He loved them dearly.
He headed straight up the mountains to think and to relax as usual. That was before being captured by the strange little men and forced to serve strange drinks while they took turns crushing rocks with their bare hands. Escaping to the nearest cave with his precious timepiece was a stroke of good luck.
Now he was a free man again, with a story to tell, and a watch to tell the time. All he had to do was wake up in time to do it all. His wife would be so proud of him now.
Tick. Tock. Teck.