Flash Fiction: The Watch


Nova walked out of her apartment and down the one flight of carpeted stairs before pushing the heavy glass door open and walking out. It was late September in Washington and the air was starting to cool off from the warm summer. Nova walked the narrow sidewalk around her apartment building and unlocked her small car. She climbed in and shoved the key into the ignition, the engine roaring to life. She pulled her long brown hair into a loose ponytail before rolling her window down and backing out of her parking spot.

        She had made this drive many times before. It was a short one, only 10 minutes or so to her favorite thrift store in downtown Bellevue. It was a gorgeous drive with views of Lake Washington. It was Saturday and many people were out and about. It was hard to find parking downtown, especially on a weekend. Nova spent 20 minutes circling the streets near the store before finding a spot a couple streets over. She grabbed her brown leather purse from the passenger seat and climbed out before clicking the doors shut. She put earbuds in and shoved her hands in her jacket pockets, soft melodies of music by The Fray filled her ears. She walked past the store windows and saw the large number of people searching the clothes racks but headed inside anyway.

“Nova, hey!” she turned around. Brody was standing at a register behind the counter, smiling at her. She gave him a quick wave and dodged into the crowd, turning her music up. She made her way to the shoes section, browsing the neon heels and old boots, but nothing peaked her interest. She wasn’t looking for anything specific, it was just a place she liked to escape to. She continued to walk up and down the aisles, brushing past the puffy coats and turtleneck sweaters. There was a rack of miscellaneous items that people usually didn’t want, but this was her favorite part. She dug through the bins, pushing aside glass trinkets and half-burnt candles. She saw a brown leather band towards the bottom of one of the baskets and reached in to grab it. It was a watch, she could tell it was old. The light brown leather band had cracks and scratches on it and the battery was dead. The wooden face was tucked behind a thin layer of glass that had a small chip taken out of it, the silver hands unmoving. Nova immediately fell in love with it. She tried it on, it was a perfect fit. She liked the way it hugged her left wrist. She began thinking about the story behind it, maybe it was a gift from a wife to a husband who was always late. Maybe a newspaper journalist bought it for himself to ensure he turned his stories in on time. She took off the watch and flipped it over, on the back was an engraving. She couldn’t quite make out what it said, it was too scratched. Nova browsed the store a little longer, finding a couple clothing items along the way. She brought it all up to the register, Brody still working behind it.

“How’s it going Nova? I haven’t seen you in a while.” he said while typing the prices of her items into his register.

“It’s been fine, the usual, I guess. Sorry I haven’t talked to you much, I’ve been pretty busy with homework.” She said, not meeting his eyes.

“Maybe we can catch up soon, I’ll text you. This watch is dead, are you sure you want it?” he asked, investigating the old accessory.

“Yeah that’s fine, I just like the look.” She replied, shrugging her shoulders. He gave her a questioning look before typing the price in.

“Okay, your total is $12.31.” he replied, putting her stuff in a used plastic bag. Nova handed him a $20 bill, waiting for her change. He opened the cash drawer and grabbed her change, handing it to her with her receipt. She grabbed the bag and walked toward the door.

“I’ll see you later Nova.” Brody called out after her, again she gave him a small wave and walked to her car.