The mood is somber in a stuffy lawyer's office as family members gather for the reading of a will. Each wondering what they will get. A paper chase that leads them here to sit anxiously awaiting a stranger to tell them their fate in dollars and cents. I didn't want much, just a momento or two of her. I said all the words I could ever say to her. She was gone from this world and in my mind, there was no amount of money or possessions that could ever replace her.
Except, maybe one.
A golden watch.
Earlier in the day, I drove to her house. The key stuck in the
lock and needed an extra nudge to open. The door opens
to the kitchen, a bright room full of sunlight. Closing my eyes,
I can still remember the scent of chocolate chip cookies
baking in the oven and hot cocoa. It's funny how one defines
home by the small moments. At this moment, not really sure
if I am smiling or crying. Perhaps happy tears...
I walk up the stairs to her bedroom at the end of the
hallway. It seems like a room of abundant intentions.
Entering her bedroom is like going through a dimension of
peace and harmony. All worry washes away and peace
abides in your soul.
She was my mother.
A wonderful woman, a kind woman, generous to a fault, yet opinionated,I must say. Being Irish, her bright blue eyes sparkle, always smiling. She liked to laugh and play cards, and I can always remember sitting on the porch at the lake waiting for company to come. And company did come. My mother was the kind of woman that could handle the crowd and not even look like she broke a sweat. She made everyone feel welcome and glad they came over for whatever reason.
She always wore a gold watch. The one my Dad gave her so long ago...
I love that watch...
The room is still. Quiet. Eerie.
Opening the door, the hinge creeks, resisting entry. Just a quick push and the door opens. The room is just the same as she left it the day she died, from clothes in the closet to how she arranges her dresser. The scent of Chanel is in the air, her scent. I walk over to her dresser and find the jewelry box. It is a midnight blue velvet box with a gold lock on the front. Very unusual design, and as I open it, the box it plays, its song, "Danny Boy", her favorite.
Tears cloud my eyes and I sit on the bed.
A moment of silence to gather myself and once again my curiosity brings me back to the jewelry box. I find the watch inside amongst the rings, bracelets and necklaces all neatly arranged.
Picking up the watch, I bring it to my ear and a peace falls over me.
A brilliant peace even with the silence of the watch. It no longer ticks with life. Almost knowing she is gone but leaving her small reminders that she was here. Tellng in her own simple story of her smiles, tears, love and pain.
The watch is petite, gold with tiny gold numbers on the clock face and gold hands telling the hour and minute. I imagine it must have been a joy to have or been quite smart fashion accessory. I took the watch out of her jewelry box and it wasn't wound. I examined it closely, every detail from the brand name to the texture to the silent sounds.
Wondering what the story behind the watch was all about. It was from so long ago, how could I know. Somehow, it helps me feel closer to her.
I slip it on my wrist and close my eyes to get a sense of how she felt the very first time she slipped it on her wrist. The watch was always on her wrist. Always, as long as I have known her.
I wind some life into it and listen. For a split second, it ticks...
A sign she was with me once again, if only for a moment or two.
I imagine it as a winter day probably early December on that chilly winter day my Dad happened to walk by the jewelry store on Main Street in Springfield, Massachusetts.Knowing how delicate and tiny her wrists and taking special care in the selection of the watch, the tiny gold watch with gold numbers catches his eye. The door chimes as he opens it and he walks right over to the window, and says, "I want this one."
"Very good, sir. A fine timepiece. Do you want it gift wrapped?"
"Oh yes! Gold paper if you have it and a bow."
"Right away. It is a very delicate watch and I am sure she will love it."
The jewelry store clerk rings up the order and wraps the watch in the gold paper.
He was to meet her at the ice cream shop on Main. She is bringing her cousin with her. They are very close. He smiles at how she likes the
ice cream. He likes it too. During the past month, he has had more ice cream than normal. Patting his stomach, he smiles.
"She will like this watch. It's worth the extra pounds..."
The ice cream shop is crowded as he enters. The sound of people chatting and the scent of chocolate permeates the air. He breathes in the scent as he spots the two at a booth in the back of the shop.
"You already have your ice cream? Couldn't wait, could you?"
"Not us. If we waited for you, the ice cream would melt, just teasing!"
The two girls giggle and scoop up a spoonful of vanilla with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.
"I have something for you," he says softly as he winks at her.
"Oh, do I have to leave?", her cousin asks.
"No, no. It's okay. I want you to stay. It's a gift. I notice you never wear a watch. I found the perfect watch for you...come on, now open up
He places the small package on the table.
"What pretty paper. You shouldn't have!"
"Don't argue. Just open it!", he urges her, with a grin on his face.
"Okay, okay. I'm opening it now!"
"I am not missing this for the world!", her cousin chimes in.
She puts her ice cream aside and takes the package and opens it carefully, not to rip the pretty paper.
"Will you open it. Don't worry about the paper!"
She tears open the paper and opens the box to reveal a gold watch with tiny gold numbers and dials. "How delicate! I love it."
"Let me put it on your wrist. There! Oh, it suits you perfectly. Your wrists are so delicate and pretty, just like you."
She looks up at him and smiles. Thank you. It's beautiful. I am all choked up. I don't know what to say."
"You already said it with your smile. That is enough."
"Let me see too," her cousin says. "It's beautiful."
"Now, I am going to eat my ice cream..."
"Figures. I know how much you like ice cream. He pats his stomach. Your ice cream is putting a few pounds on me as well!", he laughs.
"That's a good one!", her cousin laughs, "You could use a few extra pounds. You are too skinny!"
"Very funny. Who brought her here?", he teases.
"She is my favorite cousin and she stays!"
"Yes, I wouldn't miss this for the world. I want to go outside and sell tickets!", her cousin giggles.
She puts the watch to her ear and listens
He takes her hand and kisses it softly.
Some moments are precious like the hands of a watch. Listen closely and remember the sounds of a lifetime.