In Time

          He wore the watch everyday of their life. It was more than they could afford, but she bought it for him anyway. Automatic, twenty-one jewel movement, sapphire crystal, and a case made of solid gold. On the back she engraved, “Everything in time.”
          They were celebrating their anniversary then. In between champagne toasts and whispered nothings, she gave him the watch. He thanked her, telling her that it was too much, then reached in his pocket and got on his knee. “I love you,” He told her, and opened the box.
          A few months later, he wore the watch for the first time; it was their wedding day. The gold tone of the case clashed with his cufflinks, so he took them off and safety pinned the cuffs closed. Standing at the end of the aisle, he pulled his sleeve just a little higher, so that when she saw him she’d know that he remembered, she’d know he cared.
          When their first child was born, he pulled the crown out so he could jot down the exact second he had seen their son’s face. He did this again the first time he had spoke, the first time he walked. He kept a journal, a time card of memories, so that if he ever opened it, he could remember the precise moment that his life had changed.
          Eventually the crown became worn and the watch had to be serviced. Overhaul, rust removal, new gasket, and stem. Their son would be attending school soon and she had just lost her job. The original parts were too expensive, so they told the watchsmith to replace them with cheaper ones, they’d take care of it another time.
          And so it went, gas prices rose, medical bills would pile up, a new daughter, another son. The movement would need to be oiled, the crystal replaced. The watch was in the shop so often that moments passed unnoted, gaps of blank space filling the page.
          He remembered the first time he’d forgotten the watch. They had gotten into an argument and were running late to their youngest son’s school play. The cafeteria was packed and his wife was able to only find a single seat near the front while he lingered in the back and watched from a distance. The play had just begun when someone next to him asked for the time. “7:15,” He said, and looked up, a young woman with almond eyes smiling back.
          She was his son’s teacher. Ten years his junior, had grown up a few blocks from where his father used to work. It was the first time he had met her, but a week later he had seen her again. That time was because their son was sick, the next because his wife couldn’t make it for a conference. Eventually he’d bring her coffee, then soon they were going to lunch.
          One day, they had a few too many and he woke up next to her wondering what he had done. It was dark outside and he looked at his watch, shaking his head when he realized he had forgotten it at home. She mumbled something to him and touched his naked back. “What time is it?” He asked her. She picked up her cell phone and told him. He found a pen on the bedside table, and wrote the moment on a notepad beside his ring.

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