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Then there was the problem of the watch.  It had been given to her on her sixteenth birthday, one week before she had left.  It was a modern watch, designed to look like an antique, with a brushed gold band and stylized Roman numerals on an ivory face.  The problem was not that it had stopped, but rather that it had simply ceased telling the time.  She knew it was working, because she could hear it when she held it up to her ear, a steady, reassuring tick-tick-tick, like a tiny metal heartbeat.  It would have been more reassuring if the hands were moving.  Sometimes she thought they had, but when she checked again, she saw that the time had not changed.  It was always 11:59.  She had, for some time now, been making a list of all the things she would willingly give up if it would only tick over to twelve o’clock.

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