Man, I’ve written a lot.
With all the extra time we’ve had, I’ve been going through my documents and reading all my old stories and, boy, there’s a lot of content. I’ve written several books (and several of those several had multiple variations of the story because I’m a perfectionist or whatever it is when writers can never finish a project). I also have 150 poems and 500 short stories and then an entire folder titled “Blurbs” that’s pretty much just quippy sentences and concepts I hope to make something out of.
And since I mostly did that all week, that obviously means you reap the bennies.
I wrote this last year. It’s unedited and totally makes sense to me, but likely won’t make sense to you. Let me know I either way.
It’s called My Universe and You.
Endless black universe above me, and a marble floor so dark it may as well not be there. The vast universe, too, is dark. I’m dark, but with the light, I see.
Each light has a pedestal. Some taller than others, but truly, all very much the same height. They, too, are the empty darkness of the marble floor. Almost invisible in its lack of color.
Imagine, then, on each pedestal is a candle. They’re all the same, though some have melted down substantially. Some have burnt out long ago, some shine, the flame flickering as if dancing to get attention. As if it’s there next to me saying, “I’m only doing this so you’ll look at me.”
And there are many. I would never count for fear of not having many, though, I know along the way I’ve been someone’s light and so I have many. They each twinkle in the darkness like fireflies, or I suppose lightning bugs.
The further through the universe I go, slowly lighting and marveling at each candle, the more I have behind me. Sometimes I spend years just looking and smiling and laughing at one single candle. Sometimes two pedestals are very close together, and I watch both flames, the way they interact with each other.
Every once in a while I turn back to see how many are left behind me. Somewhere, someone is turning back to look at me. Sometimes I’m there. Sometimes I’m not, as it goes.
I love revisiting old pedestals. I love standing near them, and warming and smiling and remembering when the candle was lit. Remembering the time that passed as I watched it.
The dark floor reflects some of the lights, and it shows me my path to the next. It shows me where to go, and sometimes it stops me from going a way I’m not meant to. Not yet, perhaps.
Years pass, and I’ll forget a candle but it may never go out. If I were to visit, it would be there, bright and right where I left it, though, perhaps a little shorter. Just a little different.
In moments when the candles I’m so focused on in the now are few, I turn back to the others and I visit them all. I visit the ones, first, that I spent the most time with. The ones that warmed me for the longest, or the best. The ones that, in return, have left me a space that I never leave from, shining as bright for their return as they do me. I go around and touch each, thanking it, remembering it, cleaning around its pedestal. Some I stay for a while, the comfort of being in a familiar light. Then I move forward again, as one does. I move to the newest, freshest candle.
I strike a match, the warmth on my finger tips, the glow on my face, and I slowly light this new candle, both skeptical and anxious to see its light, to feel its warmth. I’ve been burnt before. We’ve all been burnt before, if not by the match, certainly by the candle.
But when it lights, my God it’s beautiful. It’s so different than the others, and it’s warming a new face where the others warm my back. I marvel as it flickers, and I watch on as it shows me so much freedom in change, in learning, in creating and nurturing. So intently I’m watching, that I forget to visit my others. Not so long, though. I call over my shoulder, “I’ll be there shortly, I promise.”
But this new light, it’s so full and so rounded. It has good and bad, it has exciting and terrible. It quivers in my eyes showing me fully and completely myself in this moment.
And then, as if the light had never been there, my shoulder goes cold.
I gasp and whirl around.
Where is it?
No. No, no, no. Please, no.
I frantically run back through the universe, searching for the spot I once felt, that’s no longer there. Searching for a light I was promised forever. Nothing else matters, none of the warmth, I care not to see my way, I only search for the emptiness.
And then I arrive.
When I see him before me, a strange rendition of himself, it’s true. He’s gone. The light is replaced with dark, the warmth is replaced with a dry cold. The smoke is no longer even drifting from the wick. The pedestal is dark, and I want to hold onto it. I want to cry at its base, to beg, to scream, to confess, to apologize.
I’m so sorry. How could I have neglected you? Is this my fault? Is this the result of my complete vanity? How will I ever tell you what you meant to me, and why didn’t I ever tell you how much you meant to me? Why did I wait until, without my being there, you unexpectedly went out?
Why didn’t I just come down and see you?
And it’s so cold, I forget if you even loved me. I forget if you really meant these feelings to me. Did I even really know you, or did I just know a moment of you?Does that make this feeling of complete pain in loss of love fake? Because the you I thought I knew hasn’t been that you in ten years?
It’s too cold, and the lights are telling me I’m not meant to stay here with you. I’m meant to continue into the universe and it feels so cruel. How could anything else matter? How am I supposed to just leave you in the dark back here in this universe that’s made up only of me?
How am I supposed to tell you, and why didn’t I ever tell you, what it meant? Why did we never think to find out what it meant? We said it for years, and it was ours and it didn’t matter that we didn’t know what it meant because it meant something different than that to us.
But you would’ve loved what it meant, and now it will never matter.
So I go.
I go to the new flame, and I look at it and realize it’s not so great. It’s just like the others, and what does it matter. And for a small while, I light my own path, but no new flames.
Until I do.
And I’ll always see a little of you in each of them.
Wish me luck this week and stay in if you can. I want to keep all your little candles lit, please and thank you.