A Passage Of Time

"This has simply gone too far!" were the words that echoed menacingly
through Bradley's room, which was engulfed in an endless stream of
paperwork. University life was not agreeing with Bradley the way he had
anticipated - his life, it seemed, had become little more than completing
one paper after another. It wasn't that he was unhappy with what he was
studying, but he simply couldn't enjoy it the way he had enjoyed high
school. Oh, how he wishes he could go back . . .

After having yet another exhausting day of classes, Bradley found
himself needing to relax. He appeared completely beaten as he lay his head
in his hands, contemplating the incredible amount of work he had to do over
the next several days. Abruptly, he rose and began walking to the kitchen.
In his own, almost mechanical way, he opened the refrigerator, removed a
drink, carried it to the counter, opened it, removed the tab, placed the
tab in a recycling bag, took one small drink and returned to his waiting
seat in the bedroom. These rituals and set patterns were something that
had always given Bradley a structure in his life, they had always
maintained themselves as an unwavering constant. But most importantly, they
were carried out slowly, and in the current times of speed and fast
results, it was very reassuring to be able to take time to go through the
routines which had been a part of Bradley's life for at least fifteen
years, now.

Bradley savoured his drink, choosing to drink it very slowly, as if in
an attempt to slow down time. Bradley tried again to put words to the
page, typing away furiously (certainly the ability to type over ninety
words per minute helps when you have to write as much as he does), but his
mind, usually clear when on task, was becoming muddled with concern for his
many other on-going projects. His concentration slowly deteriorated and
even his fingers, which normally seemed to have minds of their own, slowed
to a dead stop.

Bradley looked at the monitor and perused what he had just finished
writing. Dissatisfied, he leapt out of his chair, and began, quite
uncharacteristically, into a completely spontaneous monologue:

"Why is it that I can't seem to get ahead any more? I mean, in high
school, it was all I could do to keep from being totally bored, and now -"
Bradley stared at the almost perpetual list of numbers printed on the
scattered pages of data strewn throughout his room. "Now I can't get
caught up without getting buried in work the very same day! This is

With that, Bradley headed for the bathroom. He leaned hopelessly
against the counter, and drew some cold water for his face. He reached
into the medicine cabinet, withdrew a pill from his medicine bottle, and
swallowed it. After a few seconds, he was calm. He then washed his face
in the refreshing, spring-like water, and returned to his bedroom. With his
head down and eyes closed (by this time, he could map out the entire
apartment without looking) he mumbled, "I wish sometimes that I could just
slow everything down."

Bradley strolled through the open door to his room and noticed that
his legs were a little heavy. I must be getting tired, he thought. Bradley
went to retake his seat in front of the computer, and after quickly
rereading what he had already set down, he began typing again. Only this
time, he noticed that the keys were distinctly more difficult to press.
Not only that, but his fingers, which had once been light as feathers, felt
somewhat weighed down. Convinced that he was growing increasingly tired
(and sluggish), he decided to get some sleep.

Bradley didn't bother to prepare in the usual manner for bed, but
instead crawled into his comfortable, soft bed, removed his glasses and
reached over to his night table. He removed his watch, and placed it next
to him. "I'd better check the time and set an alarm, I don't want to knock
myself out for ten or twelve hours. I have too much to -" Bradley stopped
in his tracks. He had never seen anything like this before in his life,
and he wanted to make sure that it wasn't an illusion.

Somehow, his watch had slowed down. He wasn't sure how, but it had.
The seconds, which had always moved along at a fairly brisk pace, were
being counted very slowly now.