June 17th, 2007

The Welsh Wristwatch

“I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

“You love me?”

”Well, if you love me, I love you, too.”

“If I didn’t love you, wouldn’t you still love me?”

“I’d still love you, but I wouldn’t love you as much as if you’d loved me already.”

“How can you love someone more or less? Love is love is love is love is love is...”

I looked at my wrist as I continued to define love as love, time and time again, like an incessant ticking. I’d forgotten I’d taken off my watch earlier so as to make love. I was worried that it would get broken. Or that it might have hurt her. Having now dressed again, I’d forgotten to put it back on my wrist. It was beside the bed on the dressing-table. It had been given to me by my wife many years before when she had loved me. She had bought it for me on our honeymoon in Wales. It now made me sad to look at it. My wife must have been at home thinking I was somewhere else other than where I was now. My wife was as English as I was. Ironically, the woman with whom I had just exchanged love-bites was thoroughbred Welsh.

“Love is love is love is...” I intoned mindlessly, as if hypnotised by the watch (still stationary on the dressing-table) while imagining it swinging to and fro before my eye.

“How did you lose the other one?” asked the Welsh woman, eyeing the empty socket. I had squinted to see that she was indeed eyeing the empty socket and not the full one.

“That’s a long story,” I said, interrupting my chanting of love’s equivalence with a wink from my eye.

I gathered up the watch. I only wore it for sentimental reasons – nostalgia for when I and my English wife had loved each other. There was no other point to the watch as it had the hour hand missing. The minute hand would have been bad enough. The fact had always been a mystery to me, as the hour hand had gone missing overnight and there was no sign of it being loose under the glass face. It had just disappeared into the confined space of thin air. Like lost time. You can never find lost time.

The long story about my lost eye was not so long as I had claimed. It had been lost during love-making and was later discovered on the carpet lost among colours of its own – like a coiled up slug. My wife had accidentally trodden on it with a squelch. How it had dropped so easily from its socket remained a mystery. Possibly as a result of one of my wife’s knees hard-pressing the cheek’s soft underbelly of the eye with a subsequent plopping sound that neither of us heard in the excitement.

I now wear a monocle instead of glasses. But that has gone missing too.

“Do you love me?”

No reply. Not even an attempt at re-defining love.

The time passes away into nothing as she stares at the emptiness that once was me.

Another missing I.

Just the Welsh wristwatch ticking incessantly on the bed.

(Written and published today)