25. His Dad’s Watch
© Bruce Goodman 4 November 2013
When David’s father died, his mother gave him his father’s watch. He was only twelve, and it wasn’t a modern watch. It was one of those automatic watches, without a battery, that self-wound when one moved a wrist. It gave the time, the day of the week and the date. It wasn’t digital; it had a face.
When David’s father lay ill and dying, he had put his watch on the little table next to the bed. The watch had stopped three weeks before the death because he wasn’t wearing it, and it therefore didn’t automatically wind itself up.
When David got the watch, he had to turn it forward, hour after hour, day after day, week after week, to set it correctly. As he wound it on, he thought of each moment of his father’s three-week dying. And when he got to 27 minutes past 10 on the evening of April the 23rd, David thought, “Only one minute before he dies”. And he didn’t want to wind the watch on any further. He didn’t want his father to die again. But he knew he had to. And he did. He wound the time forward beyond his father’s death.