Once upon a time, in a world where clocks told people what to do, there lived a girl named Scarlett May who felt as though she never had any time to do anything. From the moment she woke up, Scarlett would be told, “You need to get ready quickly because we’re running out of time.” Scarlett could never understand how she could be running out of time when she had only just gotten out of bed. Surely the morning was when she should have the most time since the rest of the day was still very much ahead of her. Still, without fail, Scarlett would try and relax and eat her breakfast only to be told that her family didn’t have time for her to be sitting there enjoying her cereal and that she needed to be getting ready for school quickly.
School was not much better and Scarlett would be working hard on completing a writing task or mathematics test when her teacher would abruptly announce that, “Your time is now up.” Which, apparently, didn’t mean that time had moved in any particular direction, only that you had to finish your work immediately. When Scarlett asked her teacher for more time, she was made to feel as though it was her own fault that she hadn’t had enough time to finish her work. If her teacher could control the time, then why not give her enough time to complete her writing tasks?
During dinner one evening, Scarlett brought up her concerns over feeling as though she never had any time to do the things she wanted to do. “You need to start saving time,” her brother suggested. Great, thought Scarlett. How was she was supposed to save time if she didn’t have enough time as it was? When she asked him for advice about this, he replied something about her, “Learning to manage her time better.”
“Yes,” said her mother. “If you got yourself organized the night before, then you could buy yourself some time.” What on earth did that mean? She had wanted to ask more questions about this but, apparently, they had run out of time for this discussion and had moved on to something else. Scarlett lay in bed that night thinking about ways in which she might be able to save some time but had trouble thinking about where she could even keep any time that she might save. Was it something that could fit in her jewellery box, or, would she need to empty her little sister’s toy box to store it in there? Frustrated, Scarlett decided that, tomorrow, things would be different.
When she got home from school, Scarlett put her school bag away and got out the pad and pencils she had received for her birthday that year. She sat down at the kitchen table and started doing something she had been meaning to do for a while: Draw. Scarlett managed to get most of her picture completed when she was told that it was now time for to go and pick up her brother from basketball. When she complained, her mother responded by saying, “Now is not the time to be complaining.” Well, if now wasn’t the time, then when was the time?
Her frustration continued for several weeks, when, unexpectedly one morning, Scarlett woke up to discover that the house was unusually quiet and that she was the only one awake. Taking a bowl out of the cupboard, she noticed how loud it sounded as she tried to place it gently on the bench. She then carefully opened the fridge and listened to the sound of the bottles rattling against each and then gently fading away. After pouring herself some cereal and milk, Scarlett quietly tiptoed over to the dining table and managed a few mouthfuls without feeling rushed. Is this what it feels like to have time? Suddenly, her mind started to race with all of the ways she might be able to use this time that she had. Draw? Dance? Write? But it was already too late. One by one, her family members woke up and Scarlett was asked to complete a series of tasks before it was time to leave.
Scarlett and her family spent a majority of the day at the waterpark and most of the afternoon eating fish and chips by the beach. Maybe it was a result of her having such a relaxing morning, but Scarlett ended up having a wonderful day with her family. When they got home, she commented on how it had felt like the day had gone so quickly.
“Well,” said her mother, “Time flies when you’re having fun!”
But, that is a tale for another time.
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
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