At Central Watch, a woman with silver hair waited. Her red pill box hat capped her bob and accompanied her wool camel coat well. She had been wearing this outfit, or something like it, for at least 50 years. It looked good, even when she had started to shrink and her voice had begun to lose its easy, youthful volume. She stayed warm on her way to Grand Central.
When the clerk had taken my cash and returned my watch, she spoke.
“Excuse me, sir.”
From her leather tote she pulled a watch so bedazzled that the diamonds caught the light and broke it across the room in a thousand glamorous fractures. Certainly, it was meant for more than a timepiece, but it was more luxurious than jewelry.
Holding it a full arm’s length in front of her, she started again, “Do you know anything about this watch?”
He stood amazed, looking at the object as it was a sort of artifact. Pausing to answer, the man allowed enough time to pass before responding to communicate awe commensurate with the value of the item in question.
“Ma’am, I would appraise that at about $20,000.”
Her fingers now curled over her treasure, and her slow smile lifted her cheeks until they pushed the wrinkles around her eyes into happy canyons, making crow’s feet that never looked so coy.
“But do you know the model or when it was made?” she pressed, transferring the watch from her hand to the clerk’s.
When I was leaving to catch the F train home, she stood at the glass display case, waiting. And now, she was tapping her loafer softly on the tile.