The Candle

Written by Sophie Jayne Whitrick 

 Photograph by  David Sonluna

Photograph by David Sonluna

She wasn’t sure what it was that comforted her so much about a candle's flicker. It might have been that gentle glow; a hug, a hug like only your mother can give you. Those arms that can stitch a torn body back together.

Eyes dry, itchy, in need of a shutter, but her mind mesmerised by the flame, as it spread from flicker to roar. Reminding her of winter days of sledging and snowball fights, wet and chilled to the bone. Ma stripped the sodden clothes off her and shrouded her in Great Grandmas heavy crochet blanket. Moved to huddle by the black stove, the warmth of the flames licking her warm again, the hot chocolate in her pipes burning a sweet burn as it’s gulped down.

Blink. She smiled at the young her and the laughter she had shared that day. The flame of the candle continued to dance to the rhythm of the beat created by the draft passing through the window. She past her hand through the flame; left, right, left right.

She sat on her mother’s knee, in the safety of her arms. Her father to the left, feeding the flames of the hungry bonfire. Her brother to the right, poked the fire with a stick, making fire flies dance into the sky. They all looked up at the glowing ashes, floating up into the starry night sky, picking out their favourite constellations of stars, chatting sweet nothings into the night.

Blink. She thought to herself, to most lighting a candle is just an ambience; a handy way to make the room smell like fresh pine in the center of a city. No. To her it was a life line to home. A direct link to some of her closest childhood memories. When she felt her lowest. When she felt the furthest away. That flicker of light ignited that dark whole inside and made her feel that little less lonely.