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It’s 11:55 at night. I am still awake but pretending to be asleep. Guess why? Tomorrow is my birthday! My dad told me that he’ll gift me something important when I turn ten. I cannot contain my excitement. I can hear sounds while they are making arrangements to give me a surprise. It’s really hard to close your eyes and pretend to be sleeping when what you are waiting for is right in front of your eyes. Finally, those long-lasting five minutes passed and I heard a popper sound with music. I quickly woke up and stood on my bed. I am excited as hell to see the decorations and people with ‘Happy Birthday’ caps on their head. My dad came to me and put a cap on my head saying, ‘Happy Birthday Marsh.’ I cuddled with happiness and hugged him. My mom followed and all the other neighbours. ‘Wow, this is the best birthday I ever had.’ Later we had the cake cutting and danced for an hour. By 1 o’clock everyone left for their homes. We came to our dining table and mom said, ‘How is the surprise, Marsh?’

‘I loved it, mom. This is the best birthday I’ll ever have.’ My dad gave a faint smile and said, ‘You are just ten Marsh. You have so much ahead of you.’ 

‘I know dad. But I feel this birthday would be my best.’

‘Okay son, I’ll try to make it even better.’ Saying that dad got his hand under the table and took out a box wrapped with gift covers. I jumped on my chair with excitement. He kept it on the table signalling me to open it. I quickly unwrapped the sheets. It was a watch. It’s a Casio g-shock. Oh my god! This is one of the best and costliest in the market. I looked at my dad and questioned myself, ‘Is it really for me?’ My dad heard it I guess, he said, ‘Yeah it’s for you.’ I quickly opened it up and put it on my wrist. My dad quickly said, ‘It looks good on your hand.’ I was busy judging myself with the watch on my wrist. I looked back at my dad and hugged him tight saying, ‘Thank you so much, dad.’

‘Keep it safe Marsh.’

‘I will dad.’ Saying that they went to their bedroom and I went to mine. I spent the next half an hour exploring options in the watch. Then I slept with the watch still on my wrist.

Next day I woke up and usually I don’t care what time it is. But now with my new watch, I looked at it. ‘Oh, it’s 7 already. I have to get ready for school.’ I quickly got ready for school and ate my breakfast. My dad looked at me staring at my watch and said, ‘you seemed to like your gift.’

‘Oh, I’m loving it.’ My dad laughed loud and went for his work. I waited a couple of minutes for my school bus and finally, it’s here. I stepped up and was waiting for someone to ask about my new watch. I went to my seat and finally, Harry asked me, ‘Wow Marsh, Is it the new Casio g-shock?’ I was like, ‘Yes! My dad gifted me for my birthday.’

‘It looks dope, Marsh. Happy Birthday! I wish my father would gift me such things.’ Later everyone on the bus came to me to take a look at my watch. All of them are stunned. I was on cloud nine with the excitement tower rising above the clouds inside of me. It took us ten minutes to reach our school. Sitting in my class I am looking at the watch at least once in five minutes. Even our teacher asked me about the watch. I can smell envy in most of my classmates. This is the best day of my life. After a couple of hours, we came out to play baseball. Harry asked me, ‘I think it’s better to keep your watch inside while playing.’

‘It is a rugged version Harry. Don’t worry.’

We started playing the game and the very first ball came to me. It was a difficult catch. I almost flew in the air to catch it and dived hard. I finally got it with a rough crash. People came to me for applauding and with concern. I quickly said, ‘I am okay.’ raising my hand. Harry looked at my hand and said, ‘Marsh your watch!’ I almost forgot that I was wearing it and when I looked at it, the glass and internals were broken and a few pieces of the broken watch were missing as well. It was almost crushed between me and the rough ground. It broke my heart. Everyone is as concerned as I was or at least they acted. I came back to the classroom while others continued to play. It is almost broken. I guess there’s nothing we can do to repair it. I felt sad and almost felt like crying. From nowhere a thought arose in my mind, ‘What if dad knows about it.’ That gave me chills. I lost the feeling of sadness and felt fear rising inside of me. ‘He told me to keep it safe. This is his gift to me. It costs more than my school fee. He would seriously get mad at me or even hit me. He never did it before but now this is worth hitting me. How can I tell him that I broke it on the first day itself?’ I was lost in thoughts. I didn’t even go to the canteen for my lunch. How can I face my friends without the watch? Afternoon classes began and I wish the classes would never end so that I don’t have to go home and tell my dad about this. But I know it’s inevitable. The classes did end. Usually, I would run back home to watch cartoons. Now I don’t even want to go. I wish my dad never gifted me the watch. During my walk back home, I asked Harry to come with me to a watch shop to know if it can be repaired. We both went to a nearby watch store and showed him the watch. He quickly said, ‘Holy Jesus! Isn’t this the new Casio g-shock?’

‘It is. How much does it cost to repair?’  

He looked at it for a while and said, ‘With the cost to repair it you can buy a new one kid.’ I was almost filled with sweat listening to those words. Harry looked at me being nervous and said, ‘Marsh, I’ll give you an idea. Keep your watch somewhere in the living room and sleep in your bedroom. The next morning you act as if something happened to the watch and you don’t know it along with your parents. For now, keep it in your bag. Even if your dad asks about it, tell that it’s in your bag.’ I felt it’s better to do this than confess myself. Saying that Harry went to his home. With fear and nervousness stuffed inside me, I entered our home. Mom quickly asked, ‘Why are you late?’

‘I..I was playing… playing.. Baseball.’

‘Why are you upset? Have you lost the game?’

‘Haa… Yes.’ Saying that I quickly strolled into my room. I was relieved for a second that mom didn’t notice my hand. I kept the watch in my bag. I am sure dad would ask me about the watch during dinner. I recalled what Harry told me but felt that it’s so naive. I thought of multiple stories to tell my dad about the missing watch and finally decided to tell him that I gave it to my friend and will get back tomorrow so that I can at least be free for a day. Finally, mom called me for dinner. I went out without my watch and sat there. Dad was already there and we started eating without a word. Dad broke the silence saying, ‘How was your day Marsh?’ I quickly said, ‘good  dad.’ I was waiting for my dad to ask about the watch. I am sure he has seen that I am not wearing the watch. I am just waiting for him to ask about it. Dad finished his dinner and was almost about to go to bed. This is it. He is gonna ask me now. He held his hand on my shoulders and said, ‘Good night Marsh.’ and then went to their bedroom. I was like, ‘What!’ I don’t know why dad didn’t ask me about the watch. I am sure he noticed the absence. Even mom didn’t ask me about it. I went back to my room and wondered about it. I couldn’t sleep thinking about it and it felt like I was holding something heavy inside of me. If it was not today then it’s tomorrow. Surely dad would ask about it and I have to tell him the truth. I felt like an overfilled balloon. I went to my parent’s room and opened the door. Dad was working there and saw me at the door. He asked, ‘Harry, what happened boy?’

I gathered all the courage I had and said, ‘Dad, I lost it.’

‘It’s okay son. I know it. Lets buy another one next year.’

I thought to myself, ‘What! Dad already knew about it and didn’t even say a word? He said, ‘It’s okay.’ that’s it?’ 

I went close to the dad and asked him, ‘How did you know dad?’ Dad took down his spectacles and said, ‘That’s the same shop where I bought the watch.’ I quickly recalled the shop which we went to in the evening asking for the repair. I went close to dad and said, ‘I am sorry dad.’ Saying that tears almost strolled down my eyes and I continued, ‘I was playing baseball and dived in for a catch. I stood up and it was broken. I am sorry dad.’

‘It’s okay son. You don’t have to explain it to me.’

‘I thought you’ll get mad at me and even hit  me.’

My dad was shocked at my words and wiped my tears. He then said, ‘Look son. Your tears are real. Your happiness when you were celebrating last night is real. Moments and emotions are real and are the ones that matter. Things like watch are just an add on. We can get a new watch tomorrow but can we get this day which you’ve worried and scared? No. We cannot get back time Marsh. That’s why I gave you the watch. It always runs forwards and you cannot bring back a second. If you feel something is holding you back from enjoying the present and living the moment, get over it as quick as possible. Even If I yelled at you now, that would be much better than fearing about what would happen. Live the moment son. Don’t waste it worrying about the future and let go off the weight cause the more you carry the more it weighs. Free yourself from everything and live the moment.’ 

That’s why I still call it my best birthday ever and I knew it even before happening. It’s not because of the watch but what my dad told me that day. Now I am thirty years old and l have many issues to be worried about. But at least once in a day I go out into the park, sit alone and let go off everything that runs in my mind and I’ll remember his words which makes me feel alive, ‘LIVE THE MOMENT.’

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