Keeping watch

Illustration: OWN Digital

3 of 11
Sarah Meyer discovers a wrinkle in time.

When my father told me last Christmas that he wanted to buy me a watch, I imagined us choosing a lovely vintage piece like the ones he'd always prized; I spent countless hours of my childhood browsing alongside him at ramshackle antiques shops. But to find the watch, he drove us, of all places, to a department store. "Any one you want!" he said. I fixed my gaze on the counter to hide my disappointment. My father said happily, "Aren't these nice?" To me, nothing was nice. Everything was too shiny, too pristine, with no story or spirit. I made three trips around the case, until finally, one caught my eye: oxblood faux-alligator band, slim gold face. The watch was new, but something about it had the flavor of my father. I pointed it out to him and his pleasant expression faded. Tears welled in his eyes. "That one?" he asked. "You're sure?" Confused, I nodded, and he called the salesgirl over to box it up. Back home, he led me into his study. He pulled an envelope from his desk and emptied its contents into my hand. It was a watch with an inscription on the back: NM TO EM 12-24-36. My father said, "It was your grandfather's." My grandmother had given it to him for Christmas almost 80 years earlier. It was a near-perfect double of the one I'd chosen that day.