Wednesday, 30 July 2008
Before she snuffed it out, the last candle for the last time, Barbara had to say a little prayer.
She bought candles, small tea light candles and scattered them about her lounge. She laboriously positioned them in her favourite places around the room and went by with a box of matches, striking one and then applying the glowing flame to a cream coloured wick, watching the satisfying movement of the energy; the torch passing from match-head to candle.
Twenty-one candles were lit each night and twenty one matches had to be struck to bring them to life. Then Barbara would sit, balled up on her sofa. She'd pick up her remote control and aim it at the screen, but always the glint and glow of the myriad flames would coax her eyes away from the television.
Each night, before she was able to watch her favourite programmes on TV, Barbara found herself just sitting, solemnly in the candledark, and gathering in the strange warmth of the scene.
She sucked it all in; the strange beauty of the ordinary objects of her household clutter, the shadows moving upon wall and carpet. The everyday seemed altered and alive, under the candle's eye; as if everything there felt able to softly melt into the other, to become one molten form, slowly touching and living as and within its neighbour.
After the woes of the day had sunken deep into the thread of the carpet, Barbara would lift her arm again and sink into whatever buzzed onto her screen and hope it would not be so visceral as to wake her from this reverie.
She never worried though, about the strange shapes on the TV. No matter how dark her television screen became, the tiny flares of the tea light candles were there reflecting back at her, always keeping her safe.