The Stroke of the Hour

Close-up of clock

‘Will I put the TV on for you, stop you getting bored? Bye now Mammy.’

The patter of feet disappearing.

Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

‘And now here on RTE 1 it’s the Late, Late Show with Gay Byrne…’

A key scratching at the door.

That’ll be Maire, regular as clockwork.

‘Hello Mammy. Well now would you look at you all slumped over, that’s no good? And what is this racket? Let’s turn that TV down.’

Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

‘Now I’ve your sandwich and tea. Don’t spill it. Come on, let’s finish it up and then I’ll wash it up before I go, that’s it.’

So kind of her, how thoughtful.

‘Now, I see you tomorrow. Love you.’

The car engine firing up. The double bang from the exhaust.

Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

Another scratch at the door, the banging of the door on the wall.

Ah yes, good old Brige making her usual dramatic entrance.

‘Now Mammy, how are you? You’re looking better today. My, it’s awfully quiet in here, you’d go mad because of it, let’s turn that telly up for you.’

‘…And now on RTE 1 a re-run of this morning’s Late, Late Show with your host Mr Gay Byrne…’

Oh great.

Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

‘I’ve brought up some dinner for you Mammy, I just warm it up for you in the microwave.’


‘Now I mashed it all up for you, you have a go with the spoon there.’

What do they think I am, a baby?

 ‘Now, let’s see, what’s on this television tonight? Oh, not really your kind of thing, I turn that off and put the radio on for you before I go.’

Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

‘Ok Mammy, I’m off now, give me a kiss, that’s it. Oh yes, I’ll put that radio on for you, bye for now.’

The door slammed.

‘…and this is Colm Hayes on 2FM wishing you all a great evening and to finish the show we have Ronan Keating with ‘When you say nothing at all’…’

If only.

Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

A knock at the door.

Why does she do that? She has a key to let herself in.

At last a scratch and a creaking of the door.

‘Hello there Mrs Higgins, how are you? All your daughters dropping in on you hmm? So, let’s get you out of that chair and change your nappy.’

Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

‘Oh, a bit messy today, hmm? Well not to worry, we’ll clean you up and then into bed with you.’

Lucky me.

‘Ah, now look at you, all settled and content. Well I’ll be on my way, your Fionulla will be in first thing to get you up, hmm?’

Front door gently too. A quieter car pulling away.

Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

The noise of that clock.

I hate that bloody clock.

Fifteen years of this? My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

A rolling tear down the cheek.

The eyes closing.


For the last time.

A gentle smile spreading across the lips.




Tick-tock. Tick-tock.


© Mark Davoren 2017

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