Craig strikes the match and feels the radiating warmth as it sizzles into a perfect singular flame. He meticulously pinches the end of the stick, as if the entire universe lays within it. His mind swims through delicate memories of yesteryear while the match burns long enough to singe his fingertips and flit to the floor. He strikes another and summons strength. The flame touches the exposed wick and melts away the wax that’s coating it. This is love at first sight all over again. As the wick embraces the flame, it bruises itself to black and the surrounding hallway dances with ripples of amber.
His wife Sally bought this candle a year ago as a shared housewarming gift for their new flat. Craig had set it on the sideboard next to the front door and placed matches in the draw. She called it their insurance policy against darkness. They made love thereafter in the darkness of the living room, on a night that never ended – not even the memory of it.
He stands at the sideboard and stares at the candle. Everything within it is tangible; everything becomes truth. He glances over at the picture frame behind it and a smile sweeps across his face. It was a timeless moment between Craig and Sally as they cuddled on the beach at Taormina Bay in Sicily. The world was simpler then; their love was freshly kindled. And as they fell deeper in love, logs would be placed atop the fire, allowing embers to glow for eternity.
He watches the murmuring glimmer of the candle flame as tears stream down his face. His body convulses with each sob. The candle adds strength to Craig’s straining mind, affording sweet memories of love. But that is not why he’s crying. He is crying because this candle was the last thing Sally bought for him before she died of a weak heart. In the darkness of the living room, their love was just too strong. But not tonight when he needs it most.