It always feels like it comes out of nowhere where the cuckoo clock ticks. It has a little, bird-like squad that echoes through the living room and the dining room. I could never get rid of the clock, of course. After all, my mother gave it to me before she passed and said to hold on to it. She said that it would remind me that she was still here, and that she was always protecting me and watching over me. It gives me a nice little surprise each time it rings; my legs sometimes give it a little accompanying jump. The bird is painted lemon yellow with green feathers and a beautiful blue tail. The eyes are carved in perfect circles and follow you around the room.
I do forget sometimes, that the clock exists. Of course, the chirping twerp reminds me on the dot, but I do forget. It’s quite annoying, that little bird, but of course my mother gave it to me. The way it creepily jumps out and stares at you; it’s like it won’t let go of you with its eyes, a magnetic force draws you in. I have to reset the clock every time it goes off and put the little bird back inside. Sometimes I wonder what it might be like to leave the bird. But I couldn’t, because mother gave it to me. I couldn’t get rid of it, right?
I wake up in the middle of the night to put the bird back. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since the bird seemed to take up residence in my hallway. I’ve begun sleeping the living room lately, just on the couch, so that I can walk to the bird while staying on the verge of sleep. It’s very routine, and I rarely leave the house for more than an hour so that I can keep a careful eye on the bird. One day, it might pop out of the clock not on schedule, and that wouldn’t be particularly good, would it? No, that might mean the end of the world, or the beginning of a new journey. Either way, change with the bird is never good. It’s surprising enough as it is.
I woke up one morning feeling surprisingly refreshed. It was the first time I had slept through the whole night in years, and I knew this could only be a bad sign. I grabbed my usual morning cup of coffee from the kitchen and put it in the microwave, keeping it warm from making it in the middle of the night. Unfortunately for me, there was no coffee to grab and my hand was in the microwave. I slammed the door on my own wrist over and over again. Slam, slam, slam. The metallic clanging could never replace the special one. Catching a glimpse of my own reflection in the glass panes of the windows, I made eye contact with myself and screamed.
My eyes opened wide, staring off into the distance. Behind my head was the clock, but to my unimaginable horror, the bird had been ripped out of its house. I looked over my shoulder and let out a screaming sob. Its tiny, fine feathers were gathered in a small pile on the cream carpet. Alligator tears streamed down my face, landing and plopping into the tiny pile that was my former best friend, enemy, and mother.
It’s times like these that it’s easy to forget the clock. That goddamn chirping, the spring pushing out the painted wooden doors. I glue the feathers back together and reattach the spring. There’ll be no peace in my life, I’ll make certain of that. The cuckoo clock will annoy me until the day I die.