Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Flame Went Out

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.

No comments: