You receive a gift that is bittersweet and makes you nostalgic. What is it? Photographers, show us GIFT.
It’s a Timex Reef Gear Watch.
Some years back, I had one just like that. But it wasn’t originally mine.
Originally, it belonged to Ian Jay. He was a roommate back in college and a very good friend for life. I would tell you how I met him but I really can’t remember how. It’s been so many years and I have tried. I have always failed.
But with just the sight of that watch, I remember other things.
He would always wake up late. Even when he had an alarm—with that watch—he would still run to make it to class. Sometimes, he would even ask me to wake him up. Not that his watch was unreliable. His watch was something that he could ignore. But not a friend, especially one who was persistent in shaking him awake.
Expectedly, he wanted to be wake up early to review some more. But those times weren’t memorable. He would get up at what he’d consider ungodly hours just to put up a birthday poster for a friend. He wanted his friends to have a good start on their special days.
Just like what he tried last year on my birthday.
Well, okay, there was no poster since he was too far away to do that. But he greeted me and went all nostalgic. He wanted to bring the rest of the gang together. It has been years since we last saw each other. And since I was on a birthday high—so giddy and happy—I agreed to it without really thinking about it. And because I didn’t really think about it, I forgot about it. And that was my bad.
Forward to some weeks later, I was devastated to learn what happened to Ian Jay.
Don’t you just hate it when a friend is taken away from you so suddenly? I do. I still do. And when I learned about his untimely demise, I tried to look for anything I have of him. The watch was one of them. Although it has been with me for years now, it’s not how it was when it belonged to him. The metal ring got lost. I think. The straps have given way. And the batteries have died. Even if I could bring life back to the watch, I could never do the same for my friend.
That Timex Reef Gear watch is a reminder. You won’t always have time. So while you are here, make time. When friends reach out to you, when they ask to see you, why don’t you go? And when you say that would, keep the promise. Don’t just make time. Keep it too.
Here is my eulogy for Ian Jay, if you want to read it.