I’d heard about Tim but had never met him. The word was he could help.
Most of my friends sold copiers or shoes or mocha lattes, but Tim dealt in hours, sometimes minutes, never days. I was having a problem with a particular hour. I could name when it was going to occur. And what exactly I wanted to happen. So I needed Tim.
Finally I managed to get his number through an acquaintance and ring him. He said he’d stop by that very evening.
When I opened the door I guess I was expecting someone in a cape, or at least wearing something shiny and blue. But Tim wore jeans, glasses, was tallish and thin. He looked like someone I’d have a crush on in college.
It was Octobery out, nippy and acornish and orange-black. I asked Tim to come in. Tim declined a beer, nor did he want coffee or crackers and cheese. Tim wasn’t a wine drinker either and politely refused a juice box. The cocktail olives were waved away. He sat and encouraged me to tell my story.
I had been in a relationship in the spring. It was very happy until it wasn’t. Part of the happy time fell over that one Sunday in April when the country “springs forward” and loses an hour at two o’clock in the morning.
Tim nodded. He’d heard my story before.
I continued. That hour, that lost hour from those thrilling spring days, was going to show up this Sunday at two o’clock in the morning, as it always does on a Sunday at the end of October.
My question: could I have that hour back with that special someone?
Tim’s face knotted. He wanted to know if my ex and I had been in Arizona or Indiana over that Sunday in April. As anyone who reads the papers is aware, neither Arizona nor Indiana observes Daylight Savings. These two places do not spring forward or fall back but rather just stay put, doing whatever sort of basketballish, cactusy things these states do. Their refusal to participate generally confuses the rest of the country but everyone puts up with it because we must.
No, my beau and I had not been in either state at the time, I confirmed. Nor had we been in Newfoundland, which is always 30 minutes ahead of the Canadian Maritime provinces, another baffling idea but clearly Nova Scotia’s problem, not mine.
Tim thought for a moment and then asked for my ex’s name. He told me where to meet them, and departed. He didn’t have to tell me the date and time.
Two in the morning arrived that late October Sunday and I marched into the pancake house, the only place open, looking just terrific — lipsticked, hair done, the works. My ex glowered in the last booth. Tim sat in the next room, constantly syruping an icy waffle.
I was delighted to see my ex. We had that lost hour back from April! Joy.
Sitting down, I began to chat about topics from the spring, films we’d seen, friends. My ex chewed on a sprig of parsley. I told my former love how great it was we had this one last hour together. My ex ordered a water. I made a flower out of a napkin. My ex wouldn’t even look.
When the hour was over, my former paramour paid half the bill and slunk out the door.
Tim put down the syrup pitcher and approached my booth.
I cried a bit. Tim, I asked, do you think things are better in Arizona and Indiana?
Tim said he thought they might be, and smiled. He was cute, but I knew not to like him. Tim had other hours to give back to too many people for as many reasons as there are seconds in one of our days.
Before he left, Tim reminded me that sometimes, clocks and calendars be damned, one must spring forward.
Don’t let dates get you down, he said over his shoulder, meaning, I think, two things at once.