There were few grains of sand left in the top half of the hourglass. Soon they would fall, and the year would end. The decision was upon her, and it seemed harder this year than in previous years. She had never failed to turn it over, to begin again. Now, however, she found herself considering it. Recently, every year seemed worse than the last. Why allow it to continue?
The last grain landed on the pile at the bottom. The picture on her television froze on the words “Happy New Year.” Nothing moved as she contemplated the hourglass. Only when he entered the room did her pensive silence end.
“Aren’t you going to to turn it over?”
“I do not know,” she replied.
“You know that time has stopped, right?”
She gestured at the television.
“You want me to turn it over for you?”
Her laugh was humorless. “You could not lift it.”
“I know, but I thought watching me struggle might lift your spirits.”
The longer she wrestled with it, the harder the decision became. More and more doubts gnawed at her.
“Maybe you should get a bigger glass. Maybe a year is too short. A decade, perhaps? Or even a century? That way you’d have more down time between turnings.”
She shook her head. “A year ensures a regular evaluation. It keeps things from getting too far out of hand.”
“But now you’re worried that they have?”
“Yes,” she agreed.
“There have been worse periods, and you didn’t stop it then. Why now?”
“I cannot believe you are arguing for me to make the turn. I would have thought you’d be happy if I stopped.”
He shrugged his shoulders. “Sure. But I’m not sure it’d be good for you. I’d hate for you to lose your eternal optimism. It wouldn’t feel right.”
Now she managed a slight, but genuine, smile. “You are getting sentimental.”
“Not in the least. I just don’t like change, is all.”
“Very well.” Effortlessly, she picked up the hourglass and turned it over. The images on the television began to move again. “For the sake of your comfort, I will hold out hope for another year.”
“Okay then. Feel like some supper?”
“Excellent. And happy new year.”
“We shall see.”