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From the Dale Howard’s: “Heartbeats”
In a dark room there is a door that is never used because it can’t be. A single bulb hangs from the ceiling so high that when the water drips, it never reaches the floor. But still the sound echoes as if the drops land somewhere far away.
It is here that Sam paces. But it is not the movement of a caged feral cat, back and forth and back, because the room is not big enough for it. It is a journey. A crucible in a circle, on the fringe of the room, orbiting the one light bulb like a dwarf planet so far away there is no heat or comfort.
Sam stalks gently. Around and around. Time is kept. It takes two heartbeats from the door to the far corner where there is a sink and toilet. Two more heartbeats to the solitary bed that would be disheveled if it had more than a single blanket and soiled pillow on it. Two more heartbeats crosses the room, and two more bring Sam to the beginning, where the door awaits a safe return. After eight heartbeats a drop of water echoes in the distance. Sam has realized that time has slowed since arriving in this room. It once took twelve heartbeats to make the circumference.
Eight heartbeats for every drop of water. 1000 drops of water and the tiny slot opens in the middle of the door, and a plate with food passes through. That is how Sam knows that half a day has passed. 1200 times the slot in the door has opened. nine million, six hundred and twenty thousand heartbeats. That is how time passes.
As Sam walks in a circle, a mantra is played over and over, silently with every heartbeat:
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