Sometimes we’re not trying to buy something that was missing from our childhood; we just want to get back something that we no longer have.
In high school while saving my money towards university, I bought my first real watch. Not a truly expensive one, but one that I loved nevertheless, because it wasn’t a child or teen’s watch, it had a simple elegance, and it came from the fact that I bought it myself, by myself. I had that watch and loved it through its first replacement leather strap, which was only until about my second year of university. That’s when I lost it.
Well, I didn’t lose it, I was conned out of it. Okay, conning is a strong word when it comes by way of your own mother, but still, I felt somehow cheated, bribed, emotionally blackmailed out of it. She had said to me, upon seeing that the leather strap had broken, “You don’t need that old thing [it was probably only about four years old by that time]. Why don’t you give it to your poor mother?” The first emphasis was on “poor”, which was laughable considering that she had more jewellery than she needed, including a lovely watch. The second emphasis was on “mother” as in, “If you loved your mother, you’d give her a simple watch. Surely, your mother is worth more than a watch.” Of course, I knew what she was saying: “If you want to prove your love to me, give me something that is valuable to you. I want to test your love.” Gee, a mother who knew how to guilt-trip—who’d have thunk it?
So of course, I promptly handed over the watch. And bought her a new strap. And have regretted it ever since. I asked her a few years ago where it was, hoping that she’d give it back to me, but she
replied vaguely that she didn’t know where it was, or had given it away. So I forgot about it.
But recently, the watch was on my mind, and I was re-telling this story, I thought, “I wonder . . .” With one thing or another, I kept forgetting about it, but finally did get on to eBay about two weeks ago, and did the search. I patiently scrolled through hundreds of results, and there it was: “Good working condition, $10 USD + $5 shipping to Canada.” It arrived last week.
With a new dark-brown leather strap to get it back to its original appearance, I was back in watch heaven. No thanks, mom, but thank you, eBay.