The gears turned. The hands ticked. The pendulum swung. The clock tower was the perfect place to hide from her troubles. It was gargantuan, ancient, and labyrinthine: getting lost was a high possibility when you entered it. Getting injured from the fragile structure, even more possible. The tower dwarfed the entire town. Everyone would know what time it was, whether they cared to or not. A girl, no older than ten, walked up the stairs, ignoring the warnings. She smiled, when she saw her friend. A snow white owl, hooting back at her. They were inside of the clock itself. “How do you do, Mr. Owl?” She curtseyed. The bird hooted back in acknowledgement of her greeting. “I wish to fly free like you. In a place where I am not always reminded of time.” The owl spread his wings, and took off through a crack in the ceiling. How badly the girl wished to be a bird, and join her friend. How she wanted to fly in the air, and feel unshackled by responsibility and urgency. But alas, she was not born an owl. She was born a human. Time worked against her. As she grew, she was held to a higher standard, because she was capable of more. Her life got more difficult to live as expectations of her continually rose. But this was the hurdle she was born with. And this is the challenge she was taught to constantly overcome. To continually rise to the occasion. To never back down or run away when she had to try harder or dig deeper. Every step forward in life was scary. It was uncertain. But all that mattered was getting it behind her. The girl knew that she could one day be free of these responsibilities and expectations. With due time.