Last night (Dec. 6), I watched a PBS special on the Highwaymen and heard Kris Kristofferson singing Me and Bobby McGee. One familiar line jumped out at me, and I added it to the page of short quotations that opens Like Clockwork.
I’d trade all of my tomorrows
For one single yesterday
That line encapsulates one of the strongest human sentiments, the fear of loss and the nearly insane clinging to that which cannot last.
What would you do if you were given the chance to relive the prime year of your life? Would you take the chance, or would you proceed into the unknown future?
Like Clockwork asks — and answers — that question. It begins and end at midnight on the last/first day of the Only Year.
Here is the Prolog to Like Clockwork. Or is it an epilog? Or something else altogether? You decide.
“Tonight Snap has gone down to the Clock for Midwinter Midnight. In just a few minutes, the reversion will occur and I will forget writing this note. It will be midnight of January first, 1850. Not next year, nor last year, but the only year there is.
It isn’t a bad year and it isn’t a particularly good year, but if it is to be my only year, I want more.”
Pilar laid down her pen and listened, straining to hear the song they always sang at midnight:
The year that ends, but never ends,
That ‘ere again unfolds,
We live that year forever and
We never shall grow old
It was probably her imagination. Surely voices could not be heard over such a distance. She rose to move closer to a window and as she did, the note she had written ceased to be. All her memories of the past twelve months ceased to be. Her body sloughed off a year of age and it was January first of the last-this-next-only year.