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Bright Room

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Bright room

Short story by Alyaa Majeed

Jan19th, 2018

San Jose, CA




        Getting emotional, too attached to things, or sometimes making rather unwise judgements ,  for some  is  inevitable.  My life was stable in a routine kind of a path, or at least I thought it was, until something came up to ignite my candle. It's been years, mostly things are smooth, not very exciting, yet normal, and predictable to me. I have lived my comfortably lit room with neon and table lamps. There was never a strong desire to check on that candle. Every now and then when I watch an old movie, or I feel a tiny unoccupied space in my mind, or when I see something similar to "It", I remember that I have a candle sitting somewhere in the back of my closet.


        Occasionally I felt tempted to check on it or it got my attention, but gradually that feeling faded away..I often wondered wither or not it should be sitting in my room hid and wrapped the way It was....

  When I was a kid, my parents had neon and fluorescent to light up our home. I never knew or saw other type of lights in any of my relatives' or friends' homes.  At age twelve, my dad decided to take us to visit an old friend of his. His family was a little different from my family, when it came to their customs, habits, or simply their way of living. A few things about them raised my curiosity, especially that candle. It looked somehow uncommon, it was always lit up whenever we visited. I was never able to see it dim or off, which I think made me more interested to know about its functionality. With every visit, my heart started pumping,  and those butterflies began touring faster whenever I gazed on it.

             It was our last visit to my father's friend's as they were moving out of the city, and as they noticed how fond I grew of that candle, they decided to give it to me as a souvenir. The candle was well wrapped as they handed it to me. I felt it must be an antique and fragile, so I placed it in one of the boxes and kept it in my closet. In vain I tried to light it up a few times to see how it works, so I decided to put it off and retain the imagery of it on, alive in my mind. Many years passed, as I graduated high school, met my sweetheart, got married, became a college graduate, had my kids, and moved a few times...

       Last year, and  after thirty years or more of no contact with the past. The daughter of my father’s old friend called! She had left me a message stating that she had gotten my phone number from a relative and she was just calling to say Hi. I don't know why, all of sudden, her call brought those memories from the past... It took me back to the first time I met the family. I remembered how interested I was in them and particularly in that exceptional candle. A rather strange feeling pushed me to explore it now. 

           My closet was full of stuff. It was not easy to find the box that I had kept it in, a long time ago. I decided to look through a few things randomly. After an hour or so, I gave up, temporarily..

           A few days later, the person called again. This time, I was able to talk to her. Part of me was relieved that it was no more than an old friend who wanted to say hi.      Nevertheless, the other part of my brain started nagging me about the candle. The urge was too strong to ignore. I had to go look for it and try seriously to light it up.... Was I looking for light, warmth, crave for reminiscence, or merely curiosity. I decided to spare a few hours and dig in that closet till I find it! And voila: it was there. 

          I was so excited to take it out of the box and ignite it to see what was so special ,to me, about it. I kept trying and trying, and every time I brought the lighter closer to it, it melted a little more than before letting the wax mess up its shape and causing it to deform. It was rather frustrating to watch. I had rather left it untouched, I thought.  I'll give it one more try, I decided. Well,  the third time was NOT a charm!  This time, instead of lightening the candle, the lighter burned my fingers.  I became very upset as I was hurt badly. 

        As I was trying to treat my burn, my son came to the room.He was concerned that I have been quiet for a while, so he came to check on me. He looked at my sorrowful face. He looked at the misshaped candle, held it up and showed me what was visible to him, yet not to me. The candle had no wick!! This whole time I've been keeping this thing, thinking that it's got some kind of unusual value that I was supposed to hide. All those years, I kept it wrapped so nobody would destroy it. My son kissed my fingers. He hugged me. It was the most amazing feeling I could have ever dreamed of, at that moment or any other moment.  He wiped my tears with his lovely smile. He held my hands and walked me over to the window.. lifted the blinds and let the sun rays fall on my face. I felt the warmth and I saw the light. 

           After all, I guess that phone call had some kind of significance. It came rather late, but as they say better late than never. That closet of mine needed to be cleared for a while now. With that candle, I cleaned a lot of stuff. I got rid of a lot of things that were hanging  there, taking space in my place. Things that  were intruding on my precious everlasting Real treasure....


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