I remember when I was very small, perhaps three years old, and I was ill with the sort of bronchial infection that still often plagues me to this very day. Not wanting to leave me upstairs in my bedroom alone, my grandmother made a nest for me to rest in on the living room sofa. I can still see that day clearly in my heart. The sun was slanting in through the west-facing windows, lighting dust motes in the air, and a beam lit on the face of an old clock high on the wall.
In my heart, I called it the Clock Person because I knew that it was a living thing. I watched that clock, and it watched me. It kept me company, as it had kept company with generations of my family past. And in that dreaming time, I decided that I wanted to keep clocks.
As I grew older, the clock kept ticking. And I forgot, for a time, my promise to be a person who kept clocks. But the Clock Person remembered, and it reminded me. Suddenly clocks began appearing in my life, literally by the hundreds, and I was surrounded by the Clock People; some worked, some didn't, some were just parts waiting to become part of time again, and most I found new homes for.
Some of the Clock People have stayed with me, though; they are literally the beating heart of my home. Each has a personality of its own--like the fusspot that utterly refuses to run unless I keep the pendulum door open, or the 24-hour clock that makes me swear because I can never figure out if it stopped in AM or PM so that it takes me forever to re-set; I think it just likes the extra attention. I miss some of the other clocks I've known and loved, and I'm sure that more clocks will come my way sometime--probably not in the stampede that once they did. But, you never know with clocks; they always do things in their own good time.
The original Clock Person is still at work in my living room now. My mother always told me that only one person in each generation was meant to wind that clock, and now I am it's keeper. But I know that the Clock Person also keeps me and always has.