The Refugee's Gift

It’s tacky and tasteless. It’s nothing I would buy if given the choice. But when I was a little girl and my grandfather surprised me with it, it delighted me. 

His heart stopped beating many years ago, and so has the clockwork. The little dancers have stopped in their tracks, and nothing could pursuade them to spin and sway again.

I cherish the little clock. I’ve kept it all these years, and when I moved to the UK I left it with my parents, who promised to have it mended. But they were told this would be more espensive than worth the trouble, and so it had been gathering dust on the very top of their soap stone burner and had been quite forgotten. 

Until a refugee happened to come into their house. I don’t know his name, or where he comes from, but, having a passion for clocks, he spotted it. And he took it home with him, and within hours the little figures were twirling and dancing again and surely quite giddy with the excitement of resurrection and dance. And he wouldn’t even accept money for the miracle. 

And yesterday morning, not knowing about this, when I was sent this little video clip out of the blue, it was as if the dancers were giggling and turning inside my heart, as if something quite broken in there, was equally mended in the process.

I fancied it a message from the grave. Like my grandfather saying, “Annika, you’re on the right track. You’ve finally got what I tried to teach you; it took you an eternitiy, but you got it. Keep going, girl.” And I can feel him smiling, knowing that this makes his heart - beating or not - sing, too.

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