Once a year, I take a box out of my nightstand drawer and remove its contents: dad’s wallet and watch. After dad died, mom wanted each of us kids to have something that belonged to him. I got his wallet and watch — two things he never went anywhere without. He had his watch on when he died, which was one of the reasons I was glad mom gave it to me. I know people would think I’m crazy for saying this, but somehow I had it in my head that since dad was wearing that watch when he died, maybe a part of him was there, in the watch. I know, it’s crazy isn’t it? But still, I couldn’t help thinking it.
It’s not that I need to open dad’s wallet to know what’s inside, after all, I’ve got the contents memorized. It’s just that sometimes, I like to hold it in my hands and feel the leather, and hold it to my nose and take in that scent that is umistakeably dad.
When I opened his wallet today, I saw, of course, the usual things — the lottery ticket he’d purchased a few days earlier for the lotto drawing scheduled for his birthday night, which was a few days after he died, along with two $2 bills, gas receipts, driver’s license, insurance cards, emergency contact card, and miscellaneous other things. The receipts are all faded now, but I unfold them to see if I can still make out the date on them, then I refold perfectly and slide it back in place.
In the end, the watch no longer works, as the battery finally died a couple of years after dad, and there’s nothing new and exciting in the wallet, but each time I open that box in my nightstand and pull those items out, I keep hoping the watch will still be ticking, and the wallet will contain some new items I’ve never seen before. Even though I know this just isn’t possible, it’s still nice to believe, just for a fleeting moment, that it is.