Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Candles and Fear

Candles are not my favorite form of illumination, I prefer sunlight, moonlight, firelight (campfire), incandescent , fluorescent, LED, or dashboard lights, not necessarily in that order. The full moon is the very best light at times and I have thanked my stars for the clouds to peel away so the moon can illuminate the way, but any thing from half moon up is good, the crescents just don't have enough light to maneuver your way through the thunderheads I encounter at work.

Candles always evoke the memory of waking one morning with a terrible splitting headache, I was 16 so no, it was not a hangover. My sinuses seemed congested and the air had a smokey smell as it sometimes does when there are forest fires nearby.

I was late for school as was usually the case and had ran up to the kitchen only to grab a piece of toast and go, my mother told me I had a dirty face, she never usually commented on my grooming, I noticed some mascarra or something around her nostrils and said she had a dirty face too. I sported the short haircut of the Air Cadets and although admittedly a bit of a slob, did take pride in my appearance. I would usually hit the washroom again just before leaving for a quick wash and ensure my Air Cadet short hair was still in proper formation.(I was the Squadron Drill Sergeant. I often wondered if they had used me as a model for the drill sergeant in the movie "An Officer and a Gentleman", I doubt it).

About this time I noticed a black mark on the back of my hand,
I rubbed my irritated nose once again and another streak appeared. I went back to the washroom and looked in the mirror, the first visit I had thought the light was playing tricks on me and heavy shadows had appeared in my nostrils and just under my nose. Well now two distinct track of black lay across my lower face, just under my nose and I ran back to see if the black on my mothers face was the same. It was, and what it was was black soot, We looked around and noticed the entire house had a dull tone, on further inspection everything seemed ensconced in a very fine layer of black soot, only thick enough to dull the tone not obscure it. The walls, the drapes, the counters, the floor, the furniture it was all covered in soot.

Where could it have possibly come from. By now my sister was up and she had a dirty face too. The nostrils of all of us were as if someone in the night had colored the insides of each of our noses with a charcoal crayon and the little tell tale charcoal half moon under each nostril looked like a shadow in a very eerie way.
Last to rise was my father, he also sported the darkened nostrils and soon we were trying to determine where this mysterious soot had come from.

After an extensive search of the house, we found, in a basement room divided because it was too long otherwise, by a curtain and behind the curtain was my sisters hide away/quiet spot. Was my old bookcase, the kind with glass doors, hand made for one of my birthdays, sitting half burnt up and the remnants to candles that had sat directly on the wood shelves.

My sister had lit two candles to read by in her basement sanctum, had left them burning and forgot them. I don't carry a grudge on this at all just recalling the facts, as she was young and it was not on purpose, and thankfully no one perished.

I do like candles on a birthday cakes but the others never really soothe me. In fact open flames to a sailor or an aviator (I sail and fly) on a craft, are one of the few things that can evoke utter terror.


Kass said...

Wow, if you wrote that in response to Jonas's post, then you are a fast and very good writer.
Nice piece!.

AJ said...

Thanks Kass,
Other than the occasional Christmas letter, I have only started writing to express my self recently with this blog.
I believe I have found a new avocation.

Take care,