Episode VII: Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock

Episode VII: Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock

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A train station is always a possibility: the promise of a departure, the longing for an arrival. And of all the train stations that I visited in my life, I remember one: the one in Cheshire, in the middle of the English countryside. As I always do when I need to kill time, I took a novel to read that took place in or nearby wherever i am, and there Lewis Carroll was born, so the reading was obvious. I remember sitting on the platform waiting for the train that would take me to London and feeling an ominous custody over my head. "I dare say you never even spoke to Time!", I read what the Hatter says, a guest at the delirious snack of Alice in Wonderland: "He won't stand a beating. Now, if only you kept on good terms with him, he'd do almost anything you like with the clock. For instance, suppose it were nine o'clock in the morning, just time to begin lessons: you'd only have to whisper a hint to Time, and round goes the clock in a twinkling! Half-past one, time for dinner!" The discreet but persistent vigilance I felt over my head was that of the station's great clock. Endowed with a British precision, it was under a column so that it could be seen from the front and the back: an order for those leaving and a consolation for those who arrived. Time offers all its show in a train station. It happens very fast for the one that arrives late, it becomes eternal for the one who in the wait despairs. Next to that ticking that hammers on my head I think there's nothing more deceiving than time: like a particularly wonderful summer day, it goes slow but goes fast. When I return to Buenos Aires I'm going to buy a dual watch, one of those that are moored to the wall to see the time on both sides and turn my living into a remora of this station, and is going to join the Retroclock that watches the schedules of my studio and the Roboclock that wakes me up every morning. Time is a force of gravity and, although they say that it happens as fast as a bullet train, the wait now seems eternal but I do not despair: the big clock accompanies me and its ticking goes at the same pace as mine.

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