Alex pops the watch open, and then closes it. Open close. Open close. click click. click click.
It had been a surprise when he saw it today, sitting there innocently on his way out. He thought it had been lost in the move to his new apartment but there it was on his dresser. He had grabbed it without a second thought, running his thumb over it in his pocket as he walked down the street.
Now here he is, absently mindedly opening and closing it as he sits on the train. The battery died at some point and now the hands have stopped ticking. 1:45 it reads, forever 1:45. He snaps it closed one last time as his stop approaches.
The hospital room smells like old people and death when he enters. Unsurprising since that’s what’s in it. His grandfather lays there, tubes in his nose and I.V. in his arm. His chin is held high, and Alex can tell that he’s holding onto the last shred of his pride.
The watch feels heavy in his pocket.
“Wow, really?” he says, eyes wide as he holds the small box. His grandfather smiles at him from where he sits in his chair; back straight and chin high as always. Alex sits on the ground in front of him, taking the pocket watch out of its box.
“Well that’s what you asked for, isn’t it?” he replies.
“I mean yeah but I didn’t think you’d actually get it. Usually you get me socks or something.” Alex tells him, eyes still locked on the watch as he continuously opens and closes it. Open close. Open close. click click. click click.
“I thought I’d get you something special, since you’re going to high school now.” His grandfather leans down briefly to ruffle his hair and Alex finally looks away from the watch.
“Thank you so much Grandad! I’ll cherish it forever. I promise.”
His grandfather doesn’t reply, he just keeps smiling as Alex lifts the watch up to his ear hearing the tick tick tick of time moving forward.