Bohemia Village Voice  Bohemia Village Voice

For bohemians everywhere

Rosalind Hooke

Candle

I lie on the mantlepiece half hidden in the shadows. There is little left of me now – just a greasy, grimy stump. My wick is useless . . . short and twisted, blackened with soot.
Once, not long ago, he loved me . . . admired me. I was long and slim, just fitting snugly into the curl of his fingers. I felt cool and smooth, sensuous to touch, yet with a slight stickiness, suggesting inner softness . . . inviting his nails to scratch and mark. When he did that, small neat shavings would peel off and fall onto the table. Then he used a larger, harder tool and calmly carved and gouged until I possessed a shapely waist with curves above and below for breast and hips, and on the table a mess of wax crumbs.
I knew I was desirable . . . that I would always be precious for him. He feasted his eyes on me and one evening he brought in an intricate, crystal candle-holder set into a mirrored base. He pushed me into place with with his strong, supple hands, (how I loved his touch) . . . struck a match, and lit me.
Suddenly the room was alive with a dancing light . . . my light! The curling gilt edges of his ceramic dishes now shone richly. The warm red and brown colours of the wooden table gleamed with wavering patterns. Dark shadows rose and fell on the wall behind.
But I will never forget the burning sensation, the melting pain. I wanted to scream in my agony, but he soothed me with his tender, admiring words. He sat down and began eating in front of me, whispering between mouthfuls, telling me how lovely I was . . . how my glow comforted him at the end of the day. Every evening, when he returned home, his voice seduced me and made me feel I would bear anything for him. I knew when I saw my soft flame reflected endlessly in the mirror, that my fate was to pay the price . . . to suffer voicelessly.
Soon, one day soon, the woman will come with a cloth, with warm soapy liquid, to clean the mantlepiece. She will scoop me up with lumps of grey dust and dead insects. I wait and watch. Another has taken centre stage and listens to the wheedling lies. I have already said my silent goodbye.

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