The watch-maker.

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[ Photo by Josef Sudek ]

The table was filled with clocks and watches. He was truly, a time-keeper. He picked a small analog watch and peered through its glass. Unsatisfied, he took his monocle and kept it between his right eye and nose, an innocent scientist at work. His bald head, and the long beard in which many of the screws and nuts had been lost causing him considerable displeasure, gave way him away for a homeless man. His eyes had that raw power to peer through anyone he talked to. Hardly anyone came to repair watches or clocks in this old man’s shop, he longed to come to his small shop just to hear the tick-tok of the clocks, the eternal music to his ears.

One sultry evening,when the evening breeze filled the old man’s heart, a small girl wearing a blue frock came running into his shop. The old man had to look down to see the tiny visitor. She had a pocket watch clasped in her tiny pink fingers. She raised herself on her toes and with much effort, she stretched and placed the the pocket watch on the table. The chain around the watch had grown brown and rusty. The old man put on his glasses and looked at the pocket watch. He clicked the button on top of the watch and the watch, with much difficulty, opened. A strange delight filled the old man’s heart, it was like opening a treasure chest. His eyes gleamed in happiness.

The second hand was alternating between 3 and 4.  He turned around the watch. No engravings. He held the watch in his hands and closed his eyes. His heart felt warm, it was a fine piece of craftsmanship.

A strange urge to keep the pocket watch near his ears rose in his heart. He kept it near his right ear and closed his eyes . He became silent. The ailing second hand beat along with his heart. The music covered him like a warm blanket on a rainy evening. As the beating second hand alternated between 3 and 4, he felt his body being empty. Just the tick-tok of the pocket watch resonated his hollow body. He placed the watch even closer to his ear and he felt that the watch was a telling a strange story to him. He listened, between the tick-tocks and the sweet movements of the wind, the watch played a note, a story. And like a madman seeing his reflection for the first time, he cried out aloud.

When he opened his eyes, there was no little girl. He looked around. He turned around and his clocks had stopped. No music of the tick-tok, just silence, like the eerie silence of the midnight. He felt the silence drop on his body like an avalanche. Silence clouded the room. He felt the silence choking his throat and his body began crumpling like a paper. The silence, his breathing, the silence breathing.

The old man began crying. The pocket watch dropped from his fingers. His legs gave away and he dropped on the floor. The floor became wet with his tears, he stretched and picked up the pocket watch . Between the interludes of silence, the watch is the only thing signing. A distant music.

He clicked it open.The second needle stopped for a second and the whole world stopped. The old man fell eternity pressing on his chest. The second needle started moving, beyond 4, beyond 5, beyond 6.

When the second needle touched 12, his last breath left his body. When the second needle touched 1, the last tear drop left his eye.

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