Wind buffets from all sides. Clouds hug the edges of the hills like the white for lining of a coat. “It’s time,” I hear the children say. This strikes me odd because I’ve never met a child who was friends with Time. Or anyone, really.
Time usually sits by himself in the corner, watching everyone, and not saying a word as he slowly poisons their meat. “We eat to die,” I heard someone say. I never knew it better than I know it now, as I watch him — he who watches all. People rarely notice him, and he dislikes me looking. He looks back with calm indifference, but I can tell it discomforts him. Watchers are rarely watched, and always prefer it stay that way.
He walks towards me and suddenly I am frightened. I know what he is capable of. But he only extends his hand to me. I take it, and silently, he leads me out the door, down the road. We veer off into the forest and keep going deeper, deeper, deeper.
We come to a sort of meadow. It’s the kind of place that makes you so happy you’re almost sad. “It’s beautiful,” I say. Time stands still. He does not speak. But then, he smiles. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out something shiny. He takes my wrist and attaches the object to it. I realize it is a gift.
Time watches me. He wants to see what I will do with it. I study the gift. It is somewhat heavy, cumbersome. And old. There are scratches and dents on the metal. There is something vaguely resentful about it — this is the kind of object people throw away; and this one in particular has been rejected multiple times. I can hear it tell me this in its faint, ticking voice.
But it is a gift.
“Thank you,” I say. I will keep it. Time smiles. I look down at my gift and realize it needs a name, as all great gifts do. At first, I think I’ll name it Time, after the giver of the gift. But then I think of something better — something that better describes the Giver, the one watching me so carefully even now, as I think this.
I’ll name it Watch.