And yes, my father loved his watches and his clocks.
Pocket watches cased in silver and gold or less aristocratic steel, he loved them all; their chains breasting his waistcoat.
The winding and the polishing and the craftsmanship and the filigree writhing, delicate fingers pointing to the time, to the moon, to the sun; maker’s names inscribed and Roman numerals perfectly positioned, the whole ceremony of time. He loved the watches and the watches loved him back, and because I loved my father I wanted to love the watches too.
The watches however, did not and do not love me. They sneer at my lack of reverence for time, and refuse to count it for me.
“The time is now,” I say, and they reply by sulking, refusing to move their hands.
“Have it your way” they reply indifferently.
They do not tick or chime. The cuckoo remains behind the little doors in my presence, nesting in silence. Pendulums hang inert, apathetic.
Sometimes in the night they will chime unexpectedly, erratically; one stroke at three a.m., twelve strokes at four in the morning. Each bell fades and my heart stops, waiting for a continuance. Just as I fall back to sleep, here it comes.
I hold my breath but that, it seems, is that.
“What time is it?” I am asked, and I look at the tiny clock in my hand, a gift from my long deceased father, then I look at the sky and I answer slyly.