Friday, March 11, 2011
Writing and Watches
Well well well.
I hesitate to do this, but I'm going to anyway. I said awhile ago that I was working on a short story. It's done now. It's not at all long--less than three pages--but it has to be that way. I don't explain much in it--I just show--because that is also how it has to be. This story just...came to me and begged to be put on paper, and it wouldn't let me refuse.
Mind you, I don't normally write like this. At all. This is new and different and rather strange to me. But it's what the story required. It's divided into two parts, and I debated whether or not to post both at once, but for now you're just getting the first section. The second is the best in my opinion, but stick with me. ;)
Before we get on with it, I think this photo fits with the nostalgic mood of my story...ish. My lovely sister dragged me outside for a photo shoot last week, and this is one of the results. I'm entering it in Danielle's photo challenge "peaceful."
Without further ado, here you are.
She gripped it tightly and pressed it against her ear, just like she did every morning. It was the sound she woke up to, and the one that put her to sleep. She sat there for a moment, doing nothing but listening to the dull tick, tick, tick of that extraordinary object. That thing that was so small, yet everything to her now. The thing that at the same time gave her so much comfort and so much pain.
It had been several months now. How many? She didn’t like to keep track, but she knew it had been close to eight. Eight whole months since that dreadful day. But she remembered it like it was yesterday.
She stood outside, trying to be strong. Nevertheless, several rebellious tears ran down her cheeks. She handed him the bag that she had packed with care the night before. Inside was a handwritten note for him to find whenever he next opened it. When he was halfway across the world.
He took the bag and her hand. There was no need for words. She walked behind him to the road and the car that would take him away from her. He turned around and gave her a quick kiss, pressed something into her hand, whispered, “Remember me,” and crawled into the automobile. It pulled away from her, but as it rounded a corner, he forced a courageous smile and blew her a kiss.
Then he was gone.
That kiss, that smile, might be the last of him she would ever see. Suddenly remembering, she glanced down into her hand to see what he had so urgently placed there. It was his watch. His old watch with a worn leather band that he never, ever took off. She had never seen him separated from it. It had known him longer than she had. And now, he had given it to her with the simple two words, “Remember me.” She looked at the ground at her feet, at the road down which he had disappeared, at the small device in her fingers. She placed it by her ear and heard the familiar tick, tick, tick.
She stared blankly into the distance and the tears streamed down her cheeks.
That day was far behind her, but it was branded in her memory as no other day was. She kept the watch on his desk by the bed. Every morning she opened her eyes and listened for its steady rhythm, matching her heartbeat to its tempo. She listened closely, because it was the only thing that still let her hear him from so many miles away.
At first she wore the watch herself. It comforted her to have that last piece of him near her always. But soon she saw it wearing thinner, and she began to be afraid that sometime it would slip off without her noticing and be gone forever. So she placed it on his desk at the bedside and consoled herself by listening to it every night, the last sound that filled her being as she dropped off to sleep.
She had always hated newspapers, and during the first few months of his absence, she had avoided them even more. But gradually she became drawn to them, and not only because he had loved them. It was because she had to know. Knowing the worst was better than being suspended in eternal uncertainty. The only news she ever read of anymore was death. Death of the guilty and innocent, young and old, rich and poor, deserving and undeserving, man and woman, friend and family. But not him. Not yet. Each week she scanned the page she dreaded. As she turned to it, there arose in her stomach and throat a burning ache that did not cease until her eyes had rapidly scanned the page and reassured her heart.
Letters came few and far between. She was lucky if one came in the course of a month. She kept this collection of half a dozen letters as if they were sacred. They were to her. They were kept in a little bundle tied with a string in his desk—the desk on which the watch always sat. She read them from time to time, often enough that she could quote them all by heart.
Hmm. So. You'll have to forgive the fact that this part doesn't have much of a conclusion...it really flows better into the second half, but you'll have to wait for that one.
Thoughts? Opinions? Is it sweet or dreadful? Well, maybe don't tell me if it's the latter. ;) But I'd love to hear what you think.
Ya'll, I can't wait for spring break.