My watch is my dearest object. A present from my mother on my 18th birthday, three years ago. It came in an elegant black box, wrapped around a soft sponge and dropped into a flowered gift bag. She wanted it to be more than a simple prize for making it into early adulthood, she gave it to me as a lesson on time.

I quickly learnt that time was no man’s posession but it still demanded respect. A month after the arrival of my present, a tragedy occurred. My grandfather was involved in a car accident. It was as though time had stopped. I took my watch off and flung it aside. The shock only melted away when he called us a day later from the hospital. He sounded energetic and alive, like all the years laid out ahead of him. My mother convinced me to put my watch back on and cherish the fact that I still had time with him.

Two days later, he passed away.

On the very day they were organizing to move him to a better hospital. At that exact moment, time did stop. We cried, as would be expected but we also smiled at a life well lived. My mother told me that he passed away peacefully at 10:30 on a warm day, the 6th of January. She also told me that time was precious. That it was something we were borrowed, something that could easily be taken away and at the same time, we could never have enough of. She asked me to keep the watch so I could keep track of how much time has passed since he left, as an indicator of healing.

My watch has continued to tick all this time, with the help of a few battery changes, tender love and utmost care. It doesn’t quite look the same as when it arrived though. The straps are no longer a cream peach, age has worn it down with a rusty brown. However, I have gotten used to it. It feels like home on my wrist. I can never experience 10:30 am the same, and the 6th of January still brings in a few memories and tears. My grandfather will never come back again.

My watch is dearest to me. The occasional tick-tick is a reminder of the greatest lesson in time. No man will ever have it forever, but every second is precious and demands respect.