By Alexandra Riera
Many things can happen in seven minutes, you could lose your keys and find them again within seven minutes or less. You could misplace your mobile phone and all you have to do is get someone else to call you so that you can find it. Alright, this last thing might take you a bit longer, perhaps the whole of the seven minutes. You couldn’t hoover the carpet in the living room in seven minutes for example; you’d have to go all the way upstairs to get the hoover to start with, and then take it downstairs, unroll the lead, plug it, adjust the tubes and then start the hoovering. That would take at least half an hour which is exactly what I need right now.
You see, I have to take a bus and getting to the bus takes me half an hour and the bus ride only takes about ten minutes. I could walk, I hear you say. Of course I could walk, and then it would only take me one hour to get there in my high heels over the cobbled pavement. What’s an hour in someone’s life? I wonder. Well, an hour is a lot more than seven minutes which is the time I need for adjusting my make up on the bus before I get off and meet the possible man of my life. I only call him that because we’ve only been seeing each other for about seven minutes on a daily basis for the past seven days.
He’s an antique clock repairer and he spends all his time in his workshop repairing clocks. His biggest challenge, apart from being able to see me for at least seven uninterrupted minutes is to repair that huge grandfather’s clock that sits at the entrance. It’s always seven minutes late and in spite of all his ability, he doesn’t seem to be able to repair it.
I’m beginning to think he’s doing it on purpose because when I go to see him, for only those seven minutes, he looks at the clock and says that we’ve only got seven minutes. And then he locks the shop, pulls the shutters down, puts a sign on the window saying he’ll be back later and then we kiss just before seven o’clock. When the clock starts striking seven we’re both orgasming and then, very quickly we put our clothes back on. He removes the sign from the door, pulls the shutters back up and unlocks the door. And then, just then, the clock reaches its seventh strike and the first customer of the afternoon comes in.
It’s always the same customer and he always asks why he had shut the workshop just before seven. That man, Mr Stevens, always browses around the shop, touches all the clocks and then goes to the counter; all that in less than seven minutes which gives Steven enough time to finish buttoning up the seven buttons of his shirt and get behind the counter. Mr Stevens asks him then what the time is and there’s always an argument about that as the grandfather clock at the entrance says it’s just a minute past seven o’clock and Mrs Stevens complains that the clock is seven minutes late and Steven tells him that he’s been at it for the past seven days without results. That day, however, the argument changed and it changed my life; this time it was Steve who told Mr Stevens that he was in fact late as the clock had been repaired just before he had come into the shop. Mr Stevens turned red and apologised and then went towards the clock, touched it as if he was caressing a missing lover and turned around to Steven with tears in his eyes. He took his wallet out of his pocket and showed Steve a ten pound note. “You’ll have to give me three pounds change,” was all he said as he left the note on the counter. “Seven pounds; a pound per day for the delay. Now I’m seven minutes late for my seventh wedding.”
Steven went around the counter and guided Mr Stevens towards the clock. “I’ll take that clock wherever you want me to take it.”
After seven minutes of convincing Mrs Stevens that it was a good idea, Steven put the grandfather clock in his van and drove seven houses down the street and back within seven minutes. When he came back, he looked at me and said, “we’ve got at least another seven years to wait till he comes back with his clock”, and with that he locked the shop, pulled the shutters down, put a sign on the window saying that the shop was for sale and then we kissed at leisure and made love slowly beside ticking clocks, all striking different times.