Countdown

June 15, 2015

in Europe, Netherlands, Paul Van Vliet, Spring 2015

Lately, when my friends and I go out into the city at night we carry pitchforks and torches. Our feet pound in rhythm over bridges and cobblestone squares as the crowds part for us or join our ranks. We are no agents of chaos; we don’t seek anarchy. Our protests are not political. We want only for the days to stretch out and the hours to slow their passing. In our quest we march across the city, past churches and bars and bicycles seeking out calendars and clocks. No timepiece is safe. Passersby are stripped of their watches and clocks of their hands by our time-stopping mob. We hold the torches high into the night, in hopes that our flames will delay the sun’s arrival in some defiant act of intimidation. But we are not warriors or rebels or any offensive force. We are merely international students who have seen the calendar pages flip too quickly and have seen the images of airports and our old homes start creeping back into our peripheral vision. The first few tears of foreshadowed farewells have already fallen to the floor as the more emotional among us have begun some preemptive grieving. We sit now watching everything unfold like a television drama nearing the end of its timeslot. We have looked at the clock and realized that there isn’t much room for any more plot twists. Many of the storylines that we all wove in our minds before we ever set foot on Dutch soil have played out, and now the loose ends of our narrative will be tied up or cut off and we will all be flung back to our former lives with pictures and pixilated memories of the friends we made and the times we shared.

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