Timed Out

The magic of the day is that I picked up my father’s ancient watch, a watch so old that it needs to be wound in order to run, and the second hand was moving. The watch had sat heaped on my dresser in a pile of old watches, tangled with the tiny, thin leather band watches that were my mother’s, the big watch with the gold stretch band and the abstract face that was my mother-in-law’s, and old watches of mine, small and forgettable, all stopped, a useless nest of dead time.

At first, I thought the second hand on my father’s watch was just loose and I’d moved the watch in a way that made it look like it was keeping time but, no, it was ticking, knocking off the seconds one by one like someone had pulled out the stem and stood patiently winding it like a person would do in the old days. I could see him doing it, standing in the kitchen with his short-sleeved shirt and clip-on tie getting ready to go open our store. He’d wind the watch, put it on, and go out the door.

I decided to wear the watch.

I pulled the leather band tight so the watch wouldn’t twist around my wrist and I went to a meeting in a local coffee shop. I had an hour, I told myself. I needed to get up and leave in an hour to go to the next meeting. But the watch worried me. I kept checking it during my meeting, figuring that it was only a matter of time until it died. It seemed undependable, too old, too antique to suddenly be functional. So every glance at the watch was followed by a look at my phone to get the real time. But the times were the same, time after time, until I decided that the watch was maybe two or three minutes slow.

My father would laugh at all this. He’d tell me the watch always ran slow which is why he got a new one, one that didn’t need winding, one with a battery. He’d tell me to get a watch with a battery and stopped pretending an ancient thing was going to work perfectly. He’d tell me to just let it go and move on. He wouldn’t have a moment’s regret.


The Daily Post: Evoke


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