The Old Pocket Watch

The old man ran a fingertip over the face of the pocket watch. The surface was smooth, the metal warm from his pocket. He took out a handkerchief with shaking fingers and wiped the metal. It was a habit he’d had for…he exhaled, coughed a little. He couldn’t remember. He felt anger rise, but tamped it down. He didn’t want to upset the nurse who sat not far from his room. Besides, there was no use in being angry. The disease had locked away so many memories he would never access again and he could not change that.

The words under the stilled second hand read “Made in the USSR”. He remembered that. It was a gift from the leader of that country. He meant it as a joke, but it had become a talisman, not for keeping time. Not anymore. Not since the night it had stopped running forever.

A memory broke free from confinement, burst upon him in glorious light and color. He was in his office — not the great House in Washington where he had spent good years — but his old home. The watch sat on his desk, silent. It had suddenly stopped running. He knew what that meant. The empire had fallen, its power dissipated, the magic broken. His phone rang and it sounded to him like church bells. His heart felt full and strong.

The dawn’s first light fell on the old man’s face, calm and at rest. The watch dropped to his lap.

I have a certain person in mind on whom I based the old man in this story (based on this prompt). You don’t need to know who that person is, though if you do, you’ll likely read the story differently than if you did not know. At least you should, if I did my job well. What do you think?

(Photo Credit: MrGajowy3 on Pixabay)