The flame

By Jon Hillenbrand In Stories

The man looked upon the candle as it continued to melt; the flame was slowly dying. He held it as if were a bird. The burning candle was warm in his hands, warm in his chest and eyes.

He held it close and the warmth filled him with light. His breath became deeper. His eyes opened wider. His mind swooned with possibilities previously unimaginable.  He tried not to grip the candle too tightly for he knew it was soft and delicate.

As the light faded, he tried many things to sustain it. He talked to it. He joked with it. He drew pictures for it. He sang a song to it. And yet the light continued to travel downward and slowly and inevitably extinguish itself.

As the candle burned down, she leaned towards the window. The man gathered it up, and placed her on the windowsill. The window mirrored her reflection, a double image of illuminated beauty reflected again in his eyes.

He opened the window, and his final attempt at making her happy blew her out. The light was gone, a finger of smoke rose away and into the room leaving behind the vanishing essence of her. The man grabbed at the smoke carefully as it waltzed around his fingers.

He held his empty hands to his face. The light and heat and subtle curves of her filled his vision and vanished into an invisible memory.  His fingers clung emptily like a lunge toward the missed rung of a ladder. His eyes ached to hold onto the smoke of her existence. He closed them, held the bridge if his nose and tried to glass her in time, in his hands, by the window, the first sight of her.  His face grew hot as the memory of her was faded by the eclipsing everyday.

What do you think?