Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Watch

I've never been good with watches. Watches tend to break on me, and the ones with the metal bands tear out the hair on my wrist, and I just don't like the feel of them there. The one time (well, maybe there were two times) that I had a girlfriend at Christmas, we--without any foreknowledge--exchanged gifts of watches, both engraved on the back. She lost hers within a week, and mine broke. (Yes, it was a sign.) In recent years, I've used my cellphone to tell time.

After my uncle died, mom asked if I wanted his watch, and after a bit of thinking I said yes. A few weeks ago she sent it, in a box of clothes that didn't fit me. I was sure she'd forgotten about the watch until it dropped out when I dumped the box onto the bed.

Roger had worked at GE for 25 years or so, and somewhere in there they gave him a Swiss Army watch. It's a nice watch. Leather band. Hands glow in the dark. The first time I put it on I cried, again. When it comes to Roger I'm still made of glass.

I wear it every time I leave the house. This past weekend my sister got married. I flew back to the Twin Cities and did all the rehearsal stuff and it felt . . . weird. Because, I realized, Roger wasn't there.

It was a small wedding, so they held it in the backyard of my parents' house. Tent and all that. Since I was at the house I figure I didn't need to carry my keys or my wallet or anything in my pocket. But just before we started taking pictures I started to get really upset about Roger not being there, and I remembered the watch. I'd left it with my wallet and keys.

I went up to my room and found the watch, and put it on, and for a moment I was sad. But it helped to wear it. It felt, a little bit, like he was there. I don't know that I believe in spirits or in talismans or what have you. I think it's just a security blanket that ticks. But it feels good there, and I will not lose it. If it breaks I will have it fixed. I will not forget.


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