Silvery Bells

Her laugh sounded like silvery bells in my ear.

This is it. I knew she was the one. Of course she was. After all, my watch finally started moving again after 7 years. I pulled her close, close enough to smell the scent of her shampoo.

It may sound strange to you, but in my town, everyone gets a special timekeeping device when they turn 17. This watch tells the time, but in a special kind of way. It functions as normal until the day you hit 18 years of age, and then the second hand stops immediately. (Or not, depending on your circumstances.) Just like the second hand of this special device, your body too stops aging. The only way to make it tick again is to find your true love.

There have been people who lived on for decades in their 18-year-old state, while there have been people whose watches never even stopped. My brother and I had been tickless – as we called those whose watch hands have yet to move – since we both turned 18. So we did what everyone else did: enjoyed our youth while going on a string of endless dates and parties.

Tonight’s date, however, was especially promising.

“I really enjoyed tonight, but I can’t stay out late,” she murmured, while gently pressing her lips on mine. “We shouldn’t.”

“We should.” I broke free from the embrace and pulled at her arm. “Come on. My place is this way.”

I heard the tinkle of bells again, and my heart felt so light. To finally be with the one destined to be mine! I couldn’t believe my luck.

I led her up the stairs and to my apartment. As soon as I opened it, I pulled her in, locked it behind her, and pressed her against the wall, when my roommate walked into the room, whistling.

I glared at the intruder. I told him that I’d be on a date tonight, and that I would obviously need the room to myself. She blushed and pushed me away.

My roommate immediately stopped and realized his mistake. “Oh, yeah, I’m, uh… look at the time-” But he stopped short when he glanced at his watch. Oh, no. No, it can’t be.

I saw her also take out a wristwatch from her pocket – so that’s where it was! – and took a step back when she started to cry. “I… I finally found him…”, she whispered, looking at him with tear-stained eyes. “I can’t… I can’t believe it!”

She joyously ran to my roommate, my best friend, my brother who was grinning from ear to ear. They embraced and started asking each other questions. They have obviously forgotten about me, so I slipped outside before they would notice.

When I closed the door on them, all I could hear were silvery bells.


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