It was flickering lightly. The candle, resting on the railing of my neighbours french balcony. It was a warm evening, nearly summer, and the candle’s flame—now dancing against a light breeze—was almost always outside my window the past few days, guarding her silhouette each night. She was hidden, her petite figure often pacing back and forth behind white curtains framed by countless miniature pots of roses and lobelias.
We’d never met. Though by the counter of a coffee shop nearby, we occasionally came face to face. She had clear auburn eyes and always dressed with perfect subtleties. The colour schemes were never so striking as to drown out her own radiance, but rather compliment it with an air of success that suggested perhaps the touch of a personal stylist or years spent in fashion.
I was drawn each night to sit by the window of my small one bedroom apartment over Sydney, the glare of scattered street lamps fighting their way through a vast expanse of treetops, and wonder at her candle’s soft light. I’ve started to believe there lives something of her in it. Something of her hurt, or perhaps memories fading with the snows of yesteryear. Was it lit for someone still alive? As a beacon or a secret signal?
I imagine lighting my own candle to say “I see you.” Mustering the courage to call across the sparse distance of our street, scream; “you’re not alone. I can be the hand to help carry your soy-lattes home!” I want to promise her that I’ll always be there to share her smiles and dreams for the world with.
But as I think this, the scene fades just as fast. The wick has burned. Her pale hands carry its withered grace inside, and I’m left sitting by the window alone once more. The world suddenly dark and hollow around me. The light of my own heart wondering if there’s anyone who’ll answer me, and anyone who’ll take me insidebefore I’m all burned out.