PREAMBLE TO THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR HOW TO WIND UP A WATCH
Think for a while about this: when you receive a timepiece as a gift, you receive a little flowering inferno, a chain of roses, a dungeon full of air. You are not only given the watch, a wish for a happy birthday, and hope it lasts long because it's a quality brand, made in Switzerland and powered by ruby crystals; you are not only given that tiny stonecutter which you will tie at your wrist and carry along with you everywhere you go. They have given you (they know not, what is most dreadful is the fact that they know not), they have given you a fragile and precarious new fragment of your self, something that is yours but not part of your body; something that you must latch onto your body with that wristband, like a desperate little arm clinging for life to your wrist. You are furthermore given the need to wind it up each and every day, the duty of winding it up so it can still be a timepiece; you are given the obsession to notice what the time exactly is on watch shop window displays, on the radio, on the telephone. You are given the fear of losing it, of the watch being stolen, of the watch falling to the ground and breaking. You are given the brand of the watch, and the sureness that it is a better brand than others; you are given the tendency to compare your watch to other watches. You are not given a watch; you are the gift, you are given, offered, to the watch for its birthday.
HOW TO WIND UP A WATCH
There, in the bottom, lies Death; but fear not. Hold the watch in one hand, use the fingers of the other to pinch the winding-up key, and turn it gently. Now another lapse opens; the trees unravel their leaves, the sailboats race in regattas, time unfolds like a fan, filling itself with itself, and from it spring the air, the breezes of the earth, the shadow of a lady, the scent of freshly-made bread.
What else do you want? What else do you want? Latch it quickly to your wrist, let it throb freely, imitate it full of longing. Fear rusts the springs, everything that could have been attained but was forgotten is corroding the veins of the watch, poisoning the cold blood in its ruby hearts. And there, in the bottom, lies Death, if we do not make haste and arrive before and understand that it no longer matters.
Englished by Sandra Dermark on the 4th of Germinal, MMXVIII