“Mommy!” the child’s voice run throughout the halls as his little feet carried him into the kitchen. “Mommy, where are you?”
The woman in question glanced over her shoulder, careful not to burn herself on the stove. A kind smile lit up her face once she realised that there was no emergency to attend to; it was just her son’s never-ending curiosity about the world. She smiled and cleaned her hands on her apron, crouching down to catch the eager four-year-old in her arms. It would have been terrible if he would have fallen down due to the slippery floor. Petting her child’s dark blond hair, she pressed a soft kiss to his pale forehead. Her son was a quiet and shy boy, so having him come to her for questions was always a nice surprise. It happened so rarely, that she always tried to make it a worthwhile experience.
“What’s wrong, kärlek?” she asked with a soft tone to her words as she looked at her teary-eyed son. “Did you hit your toe against the chair again, love?”
“No…” the child whimpered with a sniffle after his reply. “Ivor told me that I’m not normal because I don’t have numbers on my wrist like Daddy does. Is that true?”
The woman’s eyes clouded up as she sighed; the neighbour’s boy was bullying her little one again. Smiling as she caressed his cheek and pressed another kiss to his forehead, she shook her head. He was her special boy and he would always be everything to her. Numbers or not, the blond was unique in his own way.
“Of course not,” she was quick to push his worries out of the way. “I’m certain Ivor is just jealous that you don’t have a timer. They’re not that special, anyway.”
His eyes were focused on the crowded ward on the other side of the glass. There were doctors and nurses gathered around the single hospital bed, a pregnant woman screaming and cursing violently as her whole body trembled on the sheets. They were stained with blood; lots of it. Rubbing the back of his neck, he somehow managed to draw his gaze away from the scene and focus it on the ground. He should have been allowed in there, but he wasn’t. Not because his lover had requested it, but because they weren’t officially married. Clenching his hands into tight fists, he was about to bang on the glass window as hard as he could when a feral scream stopped him.
“No, not him! He doesn’t deserve this!” it was his fiancee screaming, tears streaming down her face. “Tell me it’s not true! It can’t be true, I beg you, tell me it’s not true!”
Ignoring the glares from the nurses and the doctors that he received, the man pushed open the door of the ward. He was standing next to his partner in a second, clutching her hand with his, not understanding the commotion. He looked at the small bundle of blankets one of the nurses was holding and his heart dropped as he saw a familiar glow on the baby’s left wrist. No, it couldn’t be true. Not their beloved baby. He was already too pure for this world; having a timer was a punishment too cruel.
“I’m sorry, Miss,” one of the doctor’s said, an understanding expression on his face. “Your child indeed has a timer on his inner left wrist. We’re all very sorry for you both.”
The man sighed, closing his eyes with a painful frown on his forehead. His child’s life was going to be a difficult one; he knew that all too well. He had experienced it.
“You sure like helping other people out, don’t you, chéri?” her father’s voice was full of amusement as he watched his daughter play. “That’s a nice trait to have, you know.”
“I do, papa,” the girl with greenish-blue eyes replied with a giggle. “Maman told me that I should try to understand others. Especially those with glowing numbers.”
The man paused for a moment, unable to register what the youth had just said, his eyebrow rising due to his confusion. Neither of her parents had had the talk about the timers that some people were born with yet, but it seemed like his wife had once again gone behind his back. Sighing quietly and masking his irritation with a warm smile, he got out of his chair and joined his precious princess on the floor in their living room, brushing a few strands of auburn hair behind her ear.
“Your mother is right,” he chose his words with care, not wanting to ruin her positive attitude. “Those people are fragile and they need more compassion than you or I.”
“I know,” she said with a shrug, her attention moving back to the dolls she was playing with. “I hope I can help a lot of people once I grow up into a big girl like maman.”
He smiled somewhat sadly at this. His daughter, while a very bright and curious child, was also incredibly naive. The world wasn’t kind to people, who didn’t look at it realistically. Sighing quietly and moving back to his chair, the man kept his eyes trained on his child. The only thing he hoped for was for the girl to be as happy as she could. He would do everything he could to keep her innocent for as long as he would have the power to do that.
“I’m sorry, we don’t know what’s wrong with your child,” his words stung worse than a snake’s bite. “You should consult foreign specialists about this thing on her wrist.”
“Thank you for your time, Doctor,” the woman said with a sad smile. “You’ve been of great help to us, even if we don’t know how or why this happened. Thank you again.”
Linking her hand with he daughter’s, she stood up from the chair and left the office quickly, not even noticing that her child was almost in tears by now. Despite being so young, she could more or less understand that something wasn’t right. Ever since she had learnt to walk on her own, her mother kept dragging her to one doctor after another. The woman was desperate to find out why there was a bunch of black numbers on her wrist, always changing to different dates. At the very moment, the clock on her wrist showed that there were twenty-two years left until something happened. And the girl’s mother wanted to find out what before that time came to.
“Mommy?” the girl asked with a whine, raising her blue eyes to look at the older woman. “Mommy, is something wrong with me?
“No, my dearest,” the woman replied, the frown still visible on her face. “Everything is alright with you. There’s nothing to worry about; you’re just special in your own way.”
“But you look scared,” the child kept on pressing, not wanting to let it go. “And I’m scared, too.”
The woman smiled softly. She was indeed scared about her daughter’s future and about her own inability to find out the truth. There were things that she couldn’t fix, but it didn’t mean that she wasn’t going to try and get to the bottom of this mystery around the child’s wrist.
THE RUNNING MAN
“Can I help you?”
He drew his eyes away from the menu and looked at the smiling barista. It was a tall man with darker blond hair and pale grey eyes, most likely not a local. The thick Swedish accent was another detail that made him appear somewhat exotic. His eyes narrowed as he glanced at the name tag present on the man’s chest - Stefan Magnusson; undoubtedly not a Brit. Remembering that he was here to order a cup of coffee and go back to his work, he stopped examining the man behind the counter and looked back at the menu, unable to decide if he wanted something sweet or bitter. It was a big problem of his; he had always been incredibly indecisive and that troubled both him and those around him.
“I’ll have a peppermint mocha,” he finally said, watching the barista put his order into the register. “And a butter croissant, please. I’ll pay in cash.”
“Alright, thank you,” the blond replied, still smiling as if it was the happiest day of his life. “I’ll bring your coffee and snack over once they’re ready.”
Grabbing the receipt, he moved away from the coffee bar, walking towards an empty seat in the back of the hall. A lonely table with two armchairs was his target, the man not wasting any time before claiming it as his own, setting his suitcase in one empty chair and sinking into the other one afterwards. It took him a few minutes to get comfortable and set his workstation up, but soon enough, he was staring at the loading screen of his laptop, a pile of papers stacked next to the machine. He liked working in quiet places like this; the cafe was almost completely empty at this time of the day, only a handful of people drinking their morning coffee or browsing through the small collection of books that the cafe owned. It was a pleasant place to be at. Sighing quietly, the man pushed his laptop forward, making room for his papers as he rummaged through his bag, searching for a pen.
“Your coffee, Sir,” the barista’s voice took him by surprise and the man flinched slightly. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to spook you. Is everything alright?”
“It’s fine. Thank you,” his reply appeared to be somewhat bitter, but the man still nodded thankfully. “I’ve just been jumpy lately. Nothing to worry about.”
“Of course,” the blond replied with a smile, his eyes moving to glance at the workstation. “Would you like anything else?”
“No, I’m good,” he said, waiting for the barista to go away so that he could actually begin his work. “If I’ll need anything, I’ll pay you a visit at the cash register.”
“Certainly. Enjoy your coffee, Sir.”
It felt like hours had passed before the blond moved away, leaving him in peace. Sighing quietly, he looked down at the first page of the pile, frowning lightly at his own name written at the very top. Victor Griffiths. Not exactly something uncommon, but it seemed to draw the eyes of his readers and his students or coworkers. It made him feel a little bit better about himself and the man relaxed, running a pale hand through his jet black hair before grabbing the papers and reading through them. He had a bit of time before his meeting with a close family friend, but this wasn’t the reason why he was doing something that wasn’t even that important to him at the very moment. No, he didn’t need to proof-read his own manuscript on this particular day. He could do that whenever he wanted; he had no editor, which meant that he had no deadlines to catch. He was the king of his own fiction and he liked it that way.
He was running from his responsibilities. As soon as the laptop booted up, he was greeted with an e-mail put on his desktop, the thick black letters glaring angrily back at him, making the man fidget in his seat. He knew that he had to reply to the e-mail and think of something acceptable to say, but his mind was empty. It was as if all reasoning had left his brain and now he was left with only one choice; to procrastinate and push back the reply for as long as he could. Rubbing his face with his free hand, he set the papers on his lap and opened up the e-mail, just watching it for a moment. The letter was full of sadness - there was no surprise that it was from his mother. There was no real reason why she had sent it, but the woman rarely missed a chance to make him feel bad about something that he did during their usual argument sessions. He was used to it by now, but it didn’t mean that it didn’t hurt.
Perhaps leaving his home without any notice wasn’t the best of his ideas. However, he was running out of options. His relationship with his parents had changed dramatically over the past few years and now they seemed to be completely different than how he remembered them. They trampled all over him, pretending to be nice people when someone else was around. But they weren’t like that when their family was alone. No, they would constantly belittle him and bring the young man down over and over again, causing for his mental state to become even worse. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t living with them anymore, renting a small flat from the poor excuse of a salary that he earned from his job as a teacher in one of the local high schools. They terrorised him with e-mails, calls and text messages, often asking him to meet with them and do “family” things. But those ended up to be hellish, too.
Shaking his head lightly and then trying to push those thoughts away, he couldn’t help but come back to his mother’s letter. It did seem a bit more genuine this time. Perhaps she wanted to show him that she cared about him. But from what he saw, she was still pushing most of the blame on him. It wasn’t even their first argument session, but it was definitely one of the stronger ones. It had come out of nowhere the evening earlier and now he was ignoring them completely. They weren’t very happy about that. He opened up the e-mail with a press of a button, not really liking the idea of reaching out to his mother and giving her the chance to terrorise him even more. But staying quiet was rude.
I’m sorry about the hurtful things I said yesterday; I didn’t mean any of them. The argument got out of hand and I couldn’t control myself, but I’m not the only one to blame. I apologise for leaving home so suddenly and not telling either of you about it, but I must clear my head before talking with you about this… issue we’re having. Hopefully, you’ll understand.
I don’t see a reason to share everything about my life. I’m not a child anymore and even though I’m not “normal”, as you call it, I can handle being on my own. I’m incredibly thankful for all of your effort to make my life happier, but it’s not going to happen. You can’t change fate and I don’t want to see you ruin your own lives by doing this and wasting your precious time.
I’ll stay with a friend for a couple of days. I’ll try to stay in touch as best as I can, but I give no promises.
He looked at the letter with his eyes narrowed, not liking his choice of words one bit. It felt forced and not genuine, but he also felt quite forced to reply at all. Groaning outwardly, he leaned back into his armchair and covered his eyes with his hand, wanting to disappear. He was hurting on the inside and it wasn’t just because his mother had jumped on him for saying some nasty things the earlier night. Victor knew that it was mostly his fault, but he was in denial. They just wanted to help and here he was, blaming them for his own problems. Leaning his elbows against the table, he hung his head low, his jet black hair falling over his eyes as he stared into nothingness. Things were rarely this bad, but he guessed that it was just another hint that he was going to run out of time eventually and end it all without thinking too much about the consequences. After all, it was his destiny to be sad.
Looking at his left wrist, he looked around before pulling back the sleeve of his shirt, looking at the glowing black numbers with sadness in his eyes. They were still changing irrationally, just like they when he had first noticed they were there. Victor didn’t want to have something like that on his skin, but there was no known way to remove them or make things better for him. The numbers meant that he wasn’t “normal” or anything even remotely close to that. He was destined to be shoved away by everyone he met and it was still a miracle that he had the few friends that he did. The only thing he wanted right now was for the friend that he was waiting for to actually appear and make him feel less miserable.
The door to the cafe opened and he raised his head, his eyes locking on the young woman who had entered. She had wavy auburn hair that fell down below her shoulders and stunning greenish-blue eyes that seemed to sparkle from afar. Her skin was slightly tanned, but nothing even remotely close to the terrible things that tunning salons created most of the time. She looked around with panic written across her face before she noticed him and hurried over to his table, almost ramming her petite body into the armchair. The girl was heaving and she had sweat forming on her forehead, but her expression was a happy one - it was clear that she had rushed over to see him as soon as she could, not liking to keep her friend waiting.
His words caught her by surprise, but there wasn’t a lot of anger between them, just a bit of friendly teasing. The brunette laughed and shrugged out of her coat, sitting in the armchair in front of Victor and ruffling his black hair once she was comfortable. The girl didn’t speak for a moment, trying to catch her breath. Without caring too much, she called over the barista with a friendly wave, pointing to an item on the menu and struggling to show that she couldn’t talk due to her heart beating so quickly. After a couple of moments, she finally calmed down enough to greet Victor and actually talk with him instead of gesturing like a madwoman.
“I’m sorry, Vicky,” she replied with a slight French accent, chuckling quietly. “I had to run in order to escape from my dad’s daily walk around the park. You know how he is.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Victor replied, cringing inside at the nickname; he didn’t like it when she called him like that. “I’m just happy you made it here in one piece.”
“It wasn’t easy. But that’s not the point. You sounded nervous on the phone… what was so important that it couldn’t wait until we went out for our weekly drinks at the bar?”
Victor huffed, lowering his eyes to the table as he closed his laptop and put it away. It would have been incredibly rude of him to keep the machine out and talk with his friend with it being between them. Rubbing the back of his neck somewhat shyly, the black-haired man took a sip of his coffee and finished his butter croissant, not really knowing how to begin his story and how to tell her that he tried to cut off all contact with his parents. The girl in front of him had done so much for Victor during these past few years, even pretending to be his girlfriend so that his parents would get off of his back for a little while and think that he was getting his life in order.
“I had another argument with my parents the other day,” he finally began, his voice quiet. “But this time I actually cut all contact with them. I need a place to stay, Evie.”
“What?” it felt as if the girl didn’t believe what he was talking about, a raised eyebrow being her only reaction. “But your parents are such good people. Why did you fall out?”
“Because they’re not good people, Eveline,” Victor replied with a tired huff. “All they do is terrorise me about my life choices. I just want to run away from them for now.”
“Running from your problems won’t make your life happier” she mused aloud, shaking her head. “But I can help you out. My roommate is away for the week, so it’s fine.”
“Thanks, love,” the black-haired man smiled and let out a sigh of relief. “I don’t know what I would have done if you didn’t help me. This is just a big mess. Again.”
The brunette smiled kindly and extended her hand to give him a reassuring squeeze on the shoulder. Not talking once the barista brought Eveline her coffee, the girl tried to calm her best friend down and make him feel better about the whole ordeal. Once the blond had wandered back to the coffee bar, she glanced around and then leaned back into her armchair, knowing better than to invade Victor’s personal space for too long. She knew that he was a very reserved person.
“But what was the reason for your quarrel this time?” she asked with a look of confusion on her sun-kissed face. “Or were they just being mean to you?”
“No…” he replied, rubbing his forearm and looking away from her. “I just did some stupid things I tried not to do again.”
“I don’t know how it happened,” his face was full of sorrow as the man tried his best not to break down. “But I went back to self-harm again.”
For a moment, the brunette was quiet, her eyes locked with Victor’s as she tried to assess the situation. Things like this had happened earlier and she wanted to think that it was just a big and twisted joke that Victor had decided to play on her. Judging from his expression, however, he wasn’t joking. Eveline leaned forward and put both of her hands on the table, linking her fingers together as she watched him with a hint of concern in her eyes. She could guess that admitting his bad habits took quite a bit of courage for the older man and while she was proud of him for opening up, she had no idea if she had to show it. He had to understand that she was there for him, right? Letting out a quiet sigh and rubbing her temples, she licked her lips, searching for words. She had to say something; anything. Staying quiet when her friend was in a dark place was never a good thing and she had to speak up quickly. But there was nothing to say - her mind was completely empty, much like Victor’s had been when he tried to write a response to his mother’s passive-aggressive e-mail. It made her feel absolutely miserable.
“Why?” it was the only question that she could think of at the very moment. “Why go back to doing it after you’ve been clean for almost a year, Vic?”
“It just happened,” he replied, his eyes still turned away from her inquisitive gaze. “I don’t know. I don’t remember. I’m not sure if I was thinking straight.”
Eveline pressed her lips into a thin line; this wasn’t a reason for harming yourself. But she could understand why he didn’t want to talk about it too much. Still, she was bent on trying to get him to open up more - the youth wanted to find out if his parents had truly overreacted due to their son cutting or burning himself again or if they were just mean in general. Tapping her knuckles on the table, she waited until the man turned to face her, his eyes appearing misty. It seemed as if he was going to start crying, which was odd in itself. Victor never cried in public places and it often took Eveline hours to get him to just let everything go and get rid of all of his negative emotions for a little while. It usually helped him to function better.
“No, I get it, but it just seems odd,” the youth held her hands up in defence, trying not to make him mad. “I’m sorry, I’m just trying to understand.”
“It’s fine. Nothing to worry about, anyway,” Victor was quick to wave it off, but he knew that she wouldn’t let it go so easily. “I didn’t want to bring it up.”
“Glad you did,” Eveline said, a hint of determination audible in her tone. “You know that I’m here for you. If there’s something you want to share, go right ahead.”
The man sighed and buried his face in his hands, letting out a long and exasperated huff. He didn’t want to share more than he had already shared, but it was too late. He knew that he could trust Eveline with his life, but the woman was sometimes too pushy about her ways. His hand flew to his right wrist, rubbing at the sore skin under his sleeve as the man winced slightly - the cuts were still healing and any rough contact with them caused his muscles to spasm. He knew that it had been a dumb idea to get his knife out once more, but he just couldn’t help it. Life was difficult and he wasn’t nearly as successful or good at the things he liked doing, which killed him on the inside. Wetting his lips and clearing his throat, he looked at the brunette - she looked concerned and he knew that it was as genuine as it could be; the girl had always cared about him, even back when they were little children. She was an amazingly selfless person.
“It began as a silly argument about me not doing something useful. They had always hated the fact that I write or teach kids for a living; they wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer, you know. And we joked about it at first, but then dad became really passionate. I think he had been drinking earlier and from that, things just escalated. He said some nasty things and I couldn’t control myself, so I fired back at him. You know what happens whenever I fight with my parents; they make me feel terrible and afterwards I realise that I’m the one at fault. At least, most of the time I am. I don’t remember everything that happened after the quarrel ended, but I woke up today with my wrist a mess.”
“Victor… I’m so sorry…”
“It’s fine,” he replied, smiling somewhat sadly at the younger woman. “I knew that it wouldn’t really leave me when I began. Really, it’s no big deal.”
Eveline shook her head, realising that it wasn’t anything close to being alright. Self-harm was a common tendency amongst people with timers on their wrists and it often evolved into suicidal thoughts and sometimes, if one was left without their destined partner, their Saviour - even attempted suicides. And she was ready to do everything in her power to keep Victor away from that line, even if she would have to tie him up and keep her in their basement for who knows how long. They had been through too much together and the only thing she wanted right now was for the poor man to be at least somewhat happy in his life. However, it was barely possible due to the damned timer on his left wrist. It was unfair to him and everyone else, who had their lives dictated by something they were born with. It wasn’t even a useful thing if the person wasn’t a Stated Timer, anyway.
“You don’t have to brush it away, you know,” she mused aloud, covering his cold hand with hers. “I’m here for you. Like I always have been. It’s fine.”
“I know it’s fine,” Victor’s words seemed to be laced with a little bit of annoyance. “But this isn’t what I wanted to talk about. I just wanted to ask if you would put up with me.”
“Of course,” the girl smiled, even though her mind was still worrying about him, her eyes slightly narrowed. “As long as your snoring doesn’t wake me up.”
A soft smile tugged at the corners of his lips as the man breathed out in relief. He knew better than to doubt his friend, but there was always a hint of fear deep inside of his chest whenever he asked for her help. Eveline was a selfless person and she had been like that for as long as he could remember, always putting other people in front of herself. She wanted to help everyone in the world and had a fairly naive outlook of life due to this. But it didn’t mean that she was a bad person because of that. No, she was gentle and kind, her heart was open to those who needed compassion or support. And he was very lucky to have someone like the girl in his life. It felt like a dream sometimes, honestly.
“Can you show me your wrist, love?” she asked out of the blue, causing for his smile to disappear completely. “I’m sorry, that was terribly rude of me. But can you?”
Victor paused for a moment, his eyes narrowed as he looked at her. This was a new type of a request and he wasn’t sure if it was as innocent as it sounded. Of course, he knew that Eveline was just trying to help, but revealing his most vulnerable side was out of the question. Wrapping his fingers around his wrist and bringing that hand to rest on his lap, he sneered quietly towards her, not wanting to sound too rude. The brunette appeared to be a little bit saddened by such actions, but she just smiled and drank her tea, pretending to ignore the fact that Victor knew he had hurt her. A cold chill crept up his spine and he wrapped his arms around his waist, feeling sick. He hated when this happened.
“I can’t. Sorry,” his reply was barely audible, his voice but a whisper. “Evie, I trust you with my life, but something like this… it’s too shameful to show you.”
The brunette sighed, finishing her coffee in a few quick gulps. The hot liquid burned her throat, but she didn’t mind it. She knew that helping Victor was out of the question at the very moment, but it didn’t mean that she was going to stop trying. Nibbling on her bottom lip, the girl looked around, smiling brightly when her eyes landed on the handsome barista who had been nothing but kind to them. A plan was already forming deep inside of her mind and she got up from the armchair, motioning Victor to stay put as she skipped towards the coffee bar. The man followed his friend with a confused look on her face, not really understanding why she would choose to talk with the blond instead of him. But the girl had always been quite difficult to understand, her actions sometimes quite unpredictable. He was almost completely used to this by now, but it didn’t mean that it wasn’t odd.
Victor only raised a questioning eyebrow once Eveline returned, casually slipping back into her armchair with a little smile on her face. Without saying anything, she just slipped a bent piece of paper over to her best friend, the man taking it with a suspicious spark to his eye. She was rarely this mischievous and when she was, it wasn’t in such public places. Though, he guessed that it couldn’t have been that bad, right? Unfolding the paper while he kept his bluish-green eyes fixed on her, Victor rolled his eyes at the telephone number that was written there along with a simple message.
Text/Call me whenever you feel bad and have no one to talk to. Stefan.
“Did you just casually tell someone about my problems?” he asked, finally raising his eyes from the paper. “I can’t believe you.”
“I didn’t tell him the juicy details, love,” Eveline gave a mild shrug, looking around with innocent eyes. “I just told that my friend feels bad and would like a chance of pace.”
“That’s a lie, though.”
“Not in my book it isn’t,” she sighed quietly and then rubbed the back of her neck. “Look, it’d be nice for you to go out more. God knows it might help you out.”
Victor grumbled. He knew that she just wanted to help, but getting a stranger involved was simply over the top. Packing up the things that were still out, he got out of the armchair and quickly threw on his coat and scarf, trying to avoid eye contact with Eveline. He knew that she would just look at him with those innocent eyes of hers and ask what she did wrong. She never intended to play the victim, but it sometimes happened and it made him feel guilty. He felt bad for always pushing her attempts to help him out away, pretending that he was alright when he truly wasn’t. Scratching his scarred wrist, the black-haired man grabbed his suitcase and stood there for a moment, glaring at the tips of his shoes.
“Where are you going?”
“I need time to think,” he replied, already moving away from their table. “I’ll go wander around for a bit and clear my head. Thanks for hearing me out, Evie.”
He walked towards the exit of the cafe, ignoring the knowing smile on the barista’s face. Victor passed by the coffee bar and then pushed himself through the glass door, inhaling the crisp air of the morning. He couldn’t stay in one place for too long, his legs already carrying him towards the nearby park as the man replayed his conversation with Eveline over and over again, trying to find the very moment it went wrong. But all that he knew was that he had overreacted to a fairly logical request and had once again run away from his best friend, leaving her in the dark about everything. Victor let out a sigh, slapping himself on the cheek and disappearing into the crowd of people.
The brunette exchanged looks with the barista, the blond coming over without her needing to call him. Motioning towards the now vacated armchair, Eveline sighed and smiled apologetically at the taller man, somehow feeling like she could trust him. Perhaps it was just that kind smile of his that seemed to radiate warmth. Grabbing the piece of the butter croissant that Victor had somehow forgotten, she snacked on the tasty treat before she turned her attention back to the barista she now knew as Stefan.
“I’m sorry for dragging you into all of this drama,” she said quietly and then tilted her head a little bit. “But it just seemed to be a very smart choice at the moment.”
“Don’t worry,” the blond chuckled in response. “I can understand what you’re going through. My father was a Timer before he… well, you get the idea.”