The Guiding Light

Sassy is closely gazing at the flame of a candle. She lies down right next to my Vaio, gracefully tapping her black tail on a table from one side to the other as if she were conducting her own orchestra. Her tuxedo needs a bow tie. Who said only human beings appreciate the flame, I wonder. I am sure at least my cat does.Candle-Guiding Light

A sweet aroma of lilacs is now permeating my workplace, the dining table. That fragrance transforms my small kitchen, where usually savory Japanese cuisine stays, into a remote and serene space. The pale purple candle and its flame are synchronizing in a tiny glass jar. The orange glow is very still. There is no fan rotating the heavy air, even though it is an unusually muggy night in the South Bay. I do not want any sound or music, except the timbre this sizzling wax performs at this moment. Sassy, too, might be entertaining herself; she has an acute sense of hearing. The lilac candle and the orange flame are composing amiable harmony. Sassy’s pyramids swivel toward the candle. She is all ears.

The candle is guarding the delicate flame so that the light glows lively, yet has a stable core. My thoughts wander for a while, in the past, the present, and into the future. As a woman from Asian culture, I have often been in someone’s shadow. A pent-up distress hardly appears audible, my quivering body not noticed. Looking into the candle tonight, I wish I could be like this candle: caring, strong, and expressive. The beautiful symphony of the candle unwinds all my emotions and evinces how I am supposed to be.

Keep glowing, Candle. Keep it up.

— a tribute to Sassy (– 2011)

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