Clara stood on tiptoe next to her father’s desk. He was sitting there beside her, a watch in his left hand and a small tool in his right. She liked how her father’s eyes focused on what he was doing. She always watched him, feeling impressed with his work. Their house stayed filled with her father’s collection of gadgets, gears, and clockwork. When her mother passed away, he took to repairing things for everyone in their town as a way to work through his grief. Soon, the man seemed a lot happier. Clara liked her father when he stayed happy.
She started learning how to repair clocks too. And had a fascination with old gears. Whenever a clock happened to be so broken they couldn’t fix it, Clara would take the gears out of it and make charms and decorations for her dresses out of them. She started collecting gears at the age of three, keeping them in a jar in her bedroom. Now that she was ten, she wore them on her clothes.
“Papa, why am I short?” she asked as her father worked.
“Your mother was tiny.” he said, eyes still on his work.
“She was? Am I the same size she was?” Clara asked.
“Did mama like gears?”
All he could do is smile at his daughter’s question. He put the watch down on the table and got up from his seat. “Come with me, Clara.”
He swept the girl up off her feet and carried her upstairs. He stopped in front of a closet that they hardly used, and he opened it.
Inside were all sorts of things decorated with gears. There nestled in the middle of bottles, vases, and wooden boxes decorated with gears sat a picture frame with a smiling woman holding a baby girl in her arms.
“I remember the day I took that photo- your mother spent all night working on that frame- she wanted it to be a reminder of her love for you and her love for clockwork.” Clara’s father told her. He handed the girl the picture frame, and she stared right at it.
“So. Your mother loved collecting her gears just as much as she loved you. She didn’t just like gears, she loved them.”
Clara smiled. “I guess you can say I got it from Mama then!” She looked through the shelves she could reach, finding a heart shaped locket with gears on front cover
. She opened it up. Inside she saw a picture of her mother holding what appeared to be a book with gears decorating the front cover. She wondered what it could be.
“Papa, what’s the book she’s holding?” Clara asked.
He took the locket and frowned. “I’ll tell you when you’re a bit older, Clara.”
That book killed her mother.