A Leap Secondby Michael Martone
He opened the box of extra seconds, letting them warm to room temperature. The seconds, packed in like eggs, hummed in the carton. He turned to the window to pass the time. Later, he would select one second and add it to the official time, but for now he thought about what had happened. Outside, it was snowing. It seemed to always snow at this time, at times like this. The snow was a kind of static in the window. Not long ago, she had said it was over. This this was over. A moment before they had been a they and then then. One day, way before that moment they would no longer be a they, there had been that other moment, a moment when they had become a they. Time passed as he thought of these two distinct points in time. Outside, it snowed regularly. The earth was slowing down. One day it would stop all together. But that wouldn’t be for a very long time. Meanwhile, time needed to be corrected. Brought up to date. Another extra second needed to be added in order for time to synchronize with the decaying speed of the world, the planet stalling. He will spent the rest of his life doing this, what he is doing now, turning to the box, his hand hovering over the thrumming seconds as if to select a chocolate from a sampler. The rest of his life will be an accumulation of these second seconds. Suddenly, he thinks.
Martone is the author of Flatness and Other Landscapes. He lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.