The Broken Watch

February 27, 2010
By 05chtone BRONZE, Cheltenham, Other
05chtone BRONZE, Cheltenham, Other
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

He was small, a little more so than the other boys in the room. His eyes were remarkable, large in shape and more onyx than russet in colour, and with the combination of his rounded diminutive nose, and wide flat cheekbones he greatly resembled a sea lion. The cheap stubs of melted candle-wax gave a weak glow, throwing light off his ebony skull and casting the rest of the boys into ominous charcoal shadow. He was dressed in a cheap, sandy suit, and the soles of his second hand, carefully polished shoes were coated in a thin slick of toffee mud, even though he had picked his away across the grass so very carefully. His father had temporarily bestowed upon him his only tie, which was threadbare and a faded crimson, but nevertheless done up perfectly by the boy who had spent an hour and a half practising to make sure he got it just right. A tentative smile worked up to a beam that emphasised his pearly teeth.
“Hi. I’m Michael.” His accent was soft, southerly, but lacked no enthusiasm despite his slight stammer. “I-I was told this was a party?”
“Yeah,” A deeper voice piped up from the obscurity of the shadows. “You got me a present then?”

“S-sure I have.” With slightly shaky hands, he produced a small box from his pocket. It was wrapped in newspaper scraps, and tied around it was a thin frayed rope, in an uneven bow. He took a clumsy step forward, leaning right over so he could give this stranger the gift. As he fumbled and nearly tripped over, he caught a side-profile of a sallow face, a chalky complexion that gleamed greasily in the candle light, and lanky hair that hung low on a high forehead. Some of the others turned to watch as the boy sat back and peeled each newspaper strand off with calm purpose. The rope was chucked on the floor at his feet. Michael stood nervously, twisting his hands and smiling tentatively, trying to see through the fug of cigarette smoke to the back. He watched avidly as the boy slowly eased off the lid and plucked the watch out of the box. Michael stared at it, remembering how had worked and saved for two months so he could earn the money for the watch he had seen in the window. He had been so proud of it, sure that if he gave someone this then he may be able to make a friend, talk to someone, have conversations with people. Sure that if he gave someone this, maybe they wouldn’t hate him.

The boy spoke up. “What is this?”

“It’s a watch.”

“I know what it is you goddamn idiot. I mean, why did you give me this?”

“I-I-I thought…it would make a nice gift.”

“Well,” he smiled. Stood up and let the watch fall to the floor. “You thought wrong.” The watch made a crunching noise under the toe of his shoe.
He stood up, swaggered to the door. Then, he grabbed the threadbare tie and pulled hard, ripping it and ruining the shape Michael had spent so much time making perfect for the evening. A second later, Michael found himself lying outside on the damp grass, blinking rain out of his eyes as he clutched the end of his tie and stared at the door. A weak chink of light came out of it as something small and dense hit him in the chest before it slammed shut again abruptly. Trying to get the mud off his only new suit, he sat up slowly and picked up with two fingers the object that had slid onto his lap. The broken watch.

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