My mother treasured her father’s watch.
David Rudnick wore it in the watch pocket of his trousers.
Every day he wound it.
Every day he palmed it.
Time to open the tailor shop? Time for lunch?
Time to close the shop? Time to leave for synagogue?
I never met him.
When he passed away, three months before I was born,
I got his name (in Hebrew: Davida)
And my mom got his watch.
My mother engraved HER initials on the back of his watch.
Helen Rudnick Eisenberg, with the important E in the middle.
She added a neck chain.
A necklace I never saw her wear.
When she passed, I saved the watch
For years, it sat motionless in my drawer.
I knew it didn’t work. I had tried.
But one day I tried again.
For some reason I wound it,
Then gave it a jiggle.
Woosh went time.
A portal opened.
The second hand spun.
The watch ticked.
My grandfather’s time still exists.
My mother’s time still exists.
I wind my grandfather’s watch every morning
He tasted the sweetness of time.
The sweet taste of freedom.
I have his watch, his name,
And his time. My time. It lives on every day.
I taste freedom too. Democracy.
Drink it down with big gulps.
Breathe it in, gasping, grasping.
Today. Another 10,000 waking breaths.
Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat.