There it flickered, in the midst of glistening melted wax. It had been burning bright and steadily most of the early morn, and the once-brimming little aluminium cup was a little more than three-quarters filled. As I watched it burn, it occurred to me if I just added into the warm liquid chunks of unused wax broken off another half-burnt candle, I could prolong its lifetime. I got hold of the pieces and carefully dropped them in, one after another. I watched as the level rose. At the precise moment the cup was full, the beautiful flame went out. It was snuffed out, ironically, by the its life-sustaining wax having, perhaps, risen too suddenly, too drastically. I took a closer look - the top end of the wick was bent and submerged. It was no wonder the flame could not be. I reached for a paper clip, straightened a section of it, and using it thus, attempted to draw the immersed wick out of its watery nook. At first, I managed - the blackened end of the little cotton string rose erect above the still-liquid wax. The moment I removed the metal clip from supporting it, though, it bent right back into its flame-drowning position. Must I then, maintain my hold on the fickle wick and be still till the wax is cool and hardened? Regardless, I needed to try again. I prodded hastily at the increasingly thickening bluish fluid to recover the evasive strand. Alas, it slid off my improvised tool and sank out of sight. In vain, I dug and scooped - it was lost to me.
First, the flame went out; then, the wick was lost.