Thursday, 4 April 2013

The watch

It's early evening, and we're side by side on the sofa, each of us at our habitual end, with just enough room for Martin the cat to sneak in between if he wants to. Tonight though, there's no cat, and it's Philip's arm that fills the space. I glance down at the pale, faintly freckled skin, and smile to myself in recollection of conversations we've had, more regularly than you might expect, about the way his arm hair shines in the sunlight or moves in the breeze. It's a long time now since I first declared them 'kindly arms', but that's what they've always seemed.

For a tall man, his wrists are surprisingly thin; small enough for me to enclose between finger and thumb, and there, just above his left wrist, is the watch he always wears. No fancy metallic timepiece, just a simple clear dial,with proper numbers and a no-nonsense leather strap. Perhaps he's seen me looking, "I got a new battery for my watch today" he says. Maybe he's realised I'm in reflective mode  "I've had this watch for twenty-five years now."

Twenty-five years, a quarter of a century, more than half his life. I think about the young man he must have been back then, way before I knew him. A man prepared to leave his home town to find a job, leaving behind so much but never quite shaking off his political passion or his northern accent. A man who worked his way gradually southwards, making new friends, trying new experiences, keeping James Stewart as his moral guide.

Twenty-five years, a quarter of a century, less than half my life. I think about the woman I was back then, way before I knew him. Newly pregnant with my fourth child, excitedly planning the move to our dream home, busily building castles in the air. I never left the south of England, never lived more than twenty miles from the London suburb where I was born and grew up. My journey was a different one; circular steps through love and friendship gained and lost.

It's early evening, and we're side by side on the sofa, each of us at our habitual end. I glance down at Philip's arm, at the watch he always wears. The second-hand clicks forward and time moves on. Silently, persistently, through  the minutes and the hours and the years.

19 comments:

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

What a beautiful peaceful scene you conjure up.

Bobby Stevenson said...

Bloomin' great and written with love :-)

savannah said...

a small thing that says so much. nicely done, sugar! xoxoxo

Wayne said...

Amazing writing. Love your reflective style!

Mary-Colleen said...

So much here in such a short space. Really love this one.

Elephant's Child said...

Such a beautiful ode to love, to warmth to companionship. Thank you.

Matt Inwood said...

Precisely what I hoped it might be when I clicked on the link. Just lovely; just what I needed.

Robbie Grey said...

Very beautiful.

Jacksquatch Detangled said...

Greatness! You never let me down!Thanks again for sharing your art.

Linda Myers said...

Ah, lovely!

Pat said...

Precious times Sharon.

Pat said...

Precious times Sharon.

The Idiot said...

So simple, clean and ... well ... stunning!

Lizzie said...

ive missed reading your blog. im on the train to London and you popped in my head. as always, beautiful thoughtful writing.

Lizzie said...

ive missed reading your blog. im on the train to London and you popped in my head. as always, beautiful thoughtful writing.

Hillary said...

I can't believe I never commented on this one. I miss you; I wish I could read your words more often. I hope you have a post...you're working on now?

This one was lovely, sweet and melancholy.

Young at Heart said...

wow!!

Diane Cosby said...

We too sit each evening but with Molly our Brittney Spaniel between us and your words reflect what are often the wanderings of my mind. Lovely, bittersweet, and soulfully reflective thoughts woven through a lifetime. Thank you for yet another lovely reflection of our lot.

Lena Lawson said...

tears and goosebumps. amazing