Fiction · PG-13

The Difference that Two Seconds Makes

Content Warning: This one’s a little bit dark, but there’s nothing graphic here. Enjoy. Maybe.

Time is one of those concepts that makes sense if you don’t think about it very long. The minute (pun intended) you start to think about what time is, what composes time, and how much it affects your life, you will be at least mildly disturbed. Time determines everything. Time determines whether you live or die. Time determines whether she says yes or no to your dinner proposal. Time determines what you’re having for breakfast.

I find it terrifying that my entire destiny is controlled by something I don’t really understand. Even a small amount of time can completely alter your entire life. If I leave for work at 4:27 PM and two seconds, then I’ll make it to my job at Outback Steakhouse on time. If I leave for work at 4:27 PM on the dot, then I’ll be clipped by a texting sorority girl, and will wind up with minor damage to my vehicle, as well as being late for work. If I leave at 4:27 PM and four seconds, then I will have to stop for traffic, and then anything could happen. I could be carjacked, or a meteor could fall from the sky and destroy my car. The possibilities are endless, but I’m tired, so I’ll only list two.

What about asking a girl out? If I ask her out right before she smells a certain flower, then she just gives me that sad look which reads “It must be tough to be you” and then get to listen to her talk to me for five minutes about how we should remain friends, despite the awkward tension that might be between us. If I had waited until after she smelled the flower, the chemical makeup in her brain would have changed, thanks to the pleasant scent of the flower, and she might have said yes. Maybe it’s a rash, spur of the moment “alright, sure,” but regardless, it is a yes. Two seconds determines the rest of your life everyday.

Here’s one last scenario. It’s a Tuesday morning, you have an 8 o’clock class, and are desperate to eat beforehand. You pop some bread in the toaster and turn the dial to 10 minutes. After combing your hair and pulling on some shorts that aren’t covered in coffee stains, you open the toaster, and slide the darkened bread onto your plate. Now, if you take a bite immediately, you might choke from the heat and then lodge the crumbs in your throat. You just died because you couldn’t wait two seconds to take a bite of breakfast.

Maybe if I would have texted “I love you,” two seconds earlier, she would have seen her phone buzz, and would have decided not to kick the chair out from under her.

Please, take two seconds.

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