Tonight, I lit a candle. I wanted to see its flame dancing near me during my reading of “La Chute” of Camus. It’s amazing how the company of a lit candle can transcend a solitary evening.
I’ve always had a special relationship with flames. I remember the big fireplace that used to be the charm of our house when I was a child. I used to spend entire evenings sitting on the coffee table in front of the open fireplace, watching the fire until it burned my face. The flames and glowing embers were my remedy for melancholy and my passport to faraway journeys.
I can no longer count the number of tears that I shed in front of this fireplace trying to tell myself that after all life must go on. This place was the scene of some of the most painful and difficult moments of my life. By fire or candlelight, I cried over the disappearance of loved ones. So many stories engraved forever in the stones of this fireplace.
There were, of course, moments of joy, fortunately. And there were many. The most delicious memories were when my parents suggested that we all eat together with my sister by the fire. They would bring everything we needed for the meal on the little pine rolling table and we would dine in the warmth of the crackling fire with an old jazz record in the background.
I am so nostalgic for those days. I would like to relive them again and again. Maybe it’s better if I just remember. After all, what would be the point of memories if we could finally relive them?
I read a few dozen pages of my book, blew out the candle and walked to the kitchen window which I opened. For long minutes, breathing the icy air with full lungs, I looked up and observed the stars in the almost black sky. I whispered to myself that I was fine there in the silence of the night. Then I left the starry sky and went home to write this story.
A night the way I like them.