Snuggling into the the sheets of the double bed between my mum and dad before getting dressed for school, I was taught to tell the time from the old colonial wall clock; the age-old ritual between a father and his son.
“Long hand, minutes, little hand, hours.”
Watching the long one move slowly, to the tick-tock-tick. The little one almost stationary. Roman numerals to be deciphered. His explanation of how six thirty was half past six, and six fifty was also ten to seven. Seven-o’clock, my lesson over for the morning. Unwillingly leaving the warm cocoon between their bodies, my hair ruffled. Cows to be brought in and milked by dad.
On my tenth birthday a special gift. Taken from the box and examined. The hands and the figures, green. “Luminous,” said dad. Held under my blazer in cupped hands. A green glow. Fastened on to my wrist by dad. Unable to take my eyes off it. The sense of pride. My own Timex watch. Taking it off again, not to be worn to school. A verbal warning, “Don’t over wind it, and don’t go getting it wet.”
Dad had a range of passed down watches. On his 21st there had been a present from his widowed mother – a solid nine carat long-link chain and fob for the silver hunter that had been his dad’s. In a box in the chest of drawers, two other watches – one wound with a tiny key. The pocket watches worn on a Sunday or market day.