To Paul, the sound [of dripping water] was like moments ticking away. He could feel time flowing through him, the instants never to be recaptured. He sensed a need for decision, but felt powerless to move. (34.150)
Perhaps more than equality, Paul's coming of age is about time. The time it takes him to grow up, the concern for time lost, and all that worrying about a time yet to come. Time, time, time, always on his mind.