A Day to Forget with a Gift to Remember
John had been my best friend since we started our tour with the military. We were coming back for a vacation. He was driving and the night was dark and stormy. I started dozing off when John leaned in and said, “I’m probably not going to see you because we are retiring after this, right?”
“Right,” I mumbled.
“Well, I got you something.”
He handed me a small pocket watch.
“I bought it in a shop during the tour. I couldn’t understand what the man was saying but I showed him the money and he just handed it to me.”
“Thanks, man.” I replied and opened it.
My head started to hurt. I looked around and it felt as if time had slowed down. I opened my mouth to yell but nothing came out. I look back and saw that John had let go of the steering wheel and was screaming. For some reason, he was looking at me. As I went to grab the steering wheel, I noticed that we were going off the road. The last thing I heard was the ‘Tick-tock’ from the watch.
I woke up in the hospital with cuts and bruises all over my body and a broken arm and legs. I remembered John couldn’t imagine what he looked like. I screamed out his name, but it just sounded like an aggressive mumble. I pressed the button hanging from the side of my bed with my one good arm and minutes later a nurse came in and asked, “What do you need?”
I tried saying “John” again and this time it was clearer.
She asked, “Is John the one in the car with you?”
I nodded. She sat down in a chair, grabbed my hand, and told me that he’d passed away
“What?! Please tell me you’re kidding.” I pleaded. It hurt to say those words. My chest felt heavy.
“Please” I begged. Tears began to swell up.
“I’m sorry” she said.
That day I broke down.
15 years later...
I turn on the news to check the traffic and drink my coffee. I go outside to check the mail and see a small package on the doorstep. I grab it and go back inside. I ask my wife if she ordered something, showing her the box.
“No,” she replied.
I notice that it had no labels as I open it, anxious to see what it is. To my surprise, it was the pocket watch.
My wife asks me, “What’s wrong, Babe?“.
With tears in my eyes, I say, “This is the watch my best friend gave me. I haven’t seen it since the accident.”
“Open it,” she says to me.
I shake my head, hide it in my office, and head to work.
When I come back to the house, I hear my children playing. My son is in my office holding the watch. It’s open. I hear the ticking again and my head starts hurting. I remember my son’s terrified look and nothing more.
To be continued...