The watch that is. It’s digging into my wrist. Digging into the protruding bulb of radial bone where my arm meets my hand. I feel it all throughout the day, in every one of my classes and all the time in between my classes. Not enough pain to feel the need to take it off. The watch occupies a weird middle space of existence on my wrist, that existence you don’t know what to do with because you can’t classify it. It’s like an awkwardly large grain of sand that just misses being a pebble. Like the Pluto of grains of sands. This is my watch.
The watch itself is a noticeably large rock of a watch attached to my wrist. If I was ever attacked it would be a deterrent with its sheer size and weight alone. It never comes off except the once a month it needs to be charged. I shower with it. In most instances, it’s been a benefit. But now it’s the low hum of the florescent lights you’d hear mindlessly while buffing glasses in a kitchen basement at the end of a long night as a server in a restaurant. You don’t hear it but it’s there in the ambient noise you’re adding to with the rags sliding over the glass. This is my watch.
It’s only been my watch since the frigid winter season in Korea has started – frigid by my standard made by memories of coastal Christmases past in California. The many layers I now wear weighed heavily and tightly on my body – this I’m not used to. And it digs my large rock of a watch into my wrist. This is my now my watch.
I decide to take it off when I get home. I look at my skin on the back of my wrist. Unlike the back of my hand, it looks foreign to me. It is stretched in the place the watch dug. It is a permanent weave of micro-wrinkling. It is disturbing, but maybe I have the luxury of being disturbed by what is otherwise an insignificant and only cosmetically harmed piece of tissue. In truth, the disturbance is a more mortal fear of the ease of being permanently blemished by something so seemingly innocuous that was so much of nothing – This isn’t an analogy for Korea. A watch and a layer of clothes. An apparent inability to deal with something that seemed like nothing. The smoothed grain of sand in a boot. The sleepy hum of florescent light. This is my not my watch – This is my adult life.
This has been my time in Korea. How the little difference this mote of independence and change of scenery has unnoticably shaken up my life. This little decorative mosaic on my wrist seems to be symptomatic of a lot of the little things that show strain in me. Like everything in my life has been pushed slightly to the left by two inches – and I now keep bumping into everything and reacting apathetically. This is my adult life.
I stare at the empty space my watch occupied. Is this what the adults before me warned my eleven-year-old self when I drank too much soda and scraped myself up too much falling from much too high out of trees? Did I pass that certain moment in life where mistakes in youth were always bounced back from? Or is this truly just the permanent pains of living in a new country alien to yourself? I want to think I’ve reached a unique intersection of my life, but I stare at my hand apathetically and put water on the stove to boil. This is my adult life.