The Day I Lit a Candle

I used to love candles. Among my favorites were lavender and vanilla that smelled so good and strong it only took one to perfume my entire flat. Good quality candles were expensive though, so I settled for cheaper ones (and I mean MUCH cheaper). I would buy them in bulks and stack them in a shelf so they were always readily available.

I used to love candles so much I had nearly every color, shape and scent you could think of. Until that afternoon when I woke up abruptly from a nap, feeling nauseous with enormous headache. I had forgotten to put out the candle and it burned in the air-conditioned room for hours. I stood up to realize that my sight was slightly blurry. I felt suffocated and my room was filled with a very strong smell (I think it was vanilla) I could almost taste it. I ran to the sink trying to ignore the limping feeling on my legs. I’m still not quite sure of what happened during my nap, but my relationship with beautiful candles ended that day.

It had been two, three years since I lit my last candle. One night, I brought someone back to my place and he asked if I had candles. It was raining cats and dogs and I thought it had something to do with blackouts that happened every now and then, so I answered, no, I did not have candles, but I got a pretty good flashlight.

“Not even one?”
“You don’t like candles?”
“How come?”

Months later, I paid him a visit. Sure enough, there were candles everywhere. In the bathroom. Bedroom. Living room. Even balcony. He lit a thick, blue candle on my bedside and I stared at the flame wondering if I would get suffocated during my sleep, because he liked candles so much and asking to put it out would be too rude.

He put it out before we slept. And did it again the next evening, and many times after. I felt slightly uncomfortable, but the feeling quickly dissipated when I realized how soothing and calming the candles actually were. I even used them to warm my hands during the chilling winter.

Long before my stay ended I made peace with all of them, and not only that. My fondness of candles slowly returned. Another friend gave me a lemongrass candle the size of my palm and made sure I went home with it. That night, I unwrapped the candle and lit it carefully. I turned off all lights and sat in my bed admiring the steady flame and basking in fresh scents of lemongrass and citrus. I felt serene and peaceful. Candles offer a gentle reminder: no matter how solid the darkness, light will always make a way. Light doesn’t need force. It pierces through effortlessly. All it does is be, and darkness would never be able to defeat it. Two days later, I went to a supermarket and bought candles in bulks.

My candles have taught me a precious lesson: to not throw away something good just because it fails once, twice, even more. Granted, sometimes things just don’t work out and there’s nothing we can do about it. Sometimes it hurts so bad that we could not even think of giving such thing another shot. But we also know it’s there. Deep down we know. It always is. Something that we love. Waiting for us to give it another chance. To try one more time. And always one more time.

Because it’s worth it.


“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.” – Maya Angelou

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