(Much unlike how I am now, right?")
I could barely sit still through a t.v. show I actually wanted to watch, so having to "behave" while a room full of adults (my parents, aunts, and grandpa) watched... ugh... the evening news was pure torture.
So I made up little games for myself.
Sometimes he'd "catch" me (during commercial breaks) and I'd be sentenced to death by tickle bees. (Although usually he'd be the one to get kicked or elbowed).
I always gave everything back, but never in a direct way- I'd ask what time it is, or if I could borrow a pen or whatever, and laugh my head of while he faked confusion about where his stuff went.
I played that game for years- stealing his watch well into highschool.
Then one day I took his watch, but when I looked at the time I realized I was supposed to be at a cross country race, so I ran out the door still wearing it.
I was so excited about the race I didn't even think about the big ugly plastic digital watch still on my wrist.
Until I got out on the course.
Lots of things go through your head when you're long distancing running.
Little conversations with yourself to take your mind off the pain of burning calves and aching sides.
Looking at my Brad's watch gave me an entirely new kind of focus.
It was like having him with me.
I ran my fastest race ever.
I borrowed his watch for every race after that.
The cheap black plastic held almost magical properties in my view.
Then came my last race.
I ran and enjoyed every last exhausting second.
After the race, I went to give him back his watch, knowing I'd probably never "need" it again. But instead he let me keep it.
I didn't wear it all the time. After all it is a big plastic man's watch, but I did wear it sometimes.
(Because of this, people kept giving me watches as Christmas and birthday gifts. I guess they thought the one I wore wasn't very nice.)
But that watch is not about looking nice. It is not even about knowing the time. It's about a game I played for years while everyone sat watching tv together at my Grandpa Frank's house. It's about always knowing that there's someone cheering me on.
In the past five years I've moved seven times. Each time paring down my possessions to the necessities- twice whittling down everything I own into what could fit into two suitcases. But Brad's watch avails.
I'll be needing that watch long after it's counted it's last minute.
*A Brad is a step-dad who is exponentially better than a dad. If you don't have one be jealous.