At the moment, I am taking an online class in creative writing. This is my answer to the first three writing assignments: bringing an ordinary object to life as if it was the character in a story; introducing another character and developing a conflict around the object; and the way the object helps resolve the conflict.
- The Candle
I like to give a warm light to everyone close by. So many faces have I seen in its life that I have stopped keeping count many, many years ago. I only remember the very first people that I have met, and the most recent ones. My creators looked different than most others I have been seeing since I left the place of my creation. They wore hats that made them look like mushrooms. They weren’t the talkative types, just kept their hands busy all day long until the delivery was finished and they could finally go back home to their families. That’s what I heard them say several times, even though I don’t know what it means. Do they have a family like I have a wick? It seems to be important to them, and I couldn’t possibly be without a wick. So maybe?
I have been living on a dining room table for the past months. That is quite a sight at times. Most of the day there’s not too much happening around here. But when everyone returns, and the woman spends some time in the room next door, and they all meet at the table I live on to eat and talk about their days, it can be interesting. They talk about other people, about work and games, about plans, they say things and laugh, they say other things and argue. I am not quite sure why they do all this, or to what purpose.
When I am on my own most of the day, I like to look at the picture above the mantelpiece. It shows a table with lots of people around it. On the table is something that looks familiar. Maybe it is something like me but it appears to be so much different. It is round like a cylinder. I am not like that. It also seems bent over at the top. I can’t do that either.
What happens at times is that one of the shorter ones who I use to see every time it turns dark outside, stares at me and puts his finger pretty close to my flame. They must be ok with heat, even though the place here is pretty cold. I don’t see any others of my kind, maybe that’s why it is so cold. They don’t seem to mind.
Sometimes, when the little ones come to the table and need more light than I can give them, they push a little button on the wall and the big round thing above me wakes up with such a bright light that I would like to close my eyes, but I can’t.
Once I dreamt of a fairy coming to the table I live on granting me one wish. Well, at first I was unsure about what she meant. Because I was so uncertain, she came back the night after, and by then I could tell her my wish. I wanted to know what family is. I’ve heard them talking about it a lot. And it must be nice, but I don’t know what exactly it is. Maybe the fairy will come back to me one day and grant me my wish for real.
- Time to move on?
Coming home from a terrible and long day of work, all I wanted was a calm evening. Maybe that was a little too much to ask. A landfill would have been a better description of the apartment. Unsure of whether I should start laughing or crying, I went to my sleeping flat mate, woke him up rudely and demanded an explanation.
“Go away. I’m hung over,” he mumbled, and went back to snoring as if he wanted to bring the house down.
“I don’t care! Get the f*** up and clean this mess! This is not a dump, and I don’t need your dirt everywhere!” My voice was very close to squeaking. Too close to losing control.
When we moved in together, I had never imagined that living with him would be hell like this.
He didn’t react in any way.
I had two choices. Either I left the apartment now, got some fresh air, and returned by the time my roomie was alert enough to talk to me. Or I’d clean up myself. There was no guarantee that the first option would work at all within the next few hours. Even if he was awake, he probably wouldn’t care too much about cleaning up. I wasn’t too keen on the second option either. Ever since this alliance for shared living costs started I have been stuck with cleaning after him if I wanted a nice place to live in. And it never lasted longer than two hours at most before he started trashing it again. I was so sick of this way of living. But should I let him win and retreat from my apartment? He knows I can’t afford to throw him out.
I will do what I should have done eons ago: I will set up an ultimatum. After that he will have to leave.
So the time of these arguments are limited now.
I took a deep breath, went to the living room and started cleaning up the pizza boxes, chips bags, beer cans, and other trash. I even vacuumed, making sure to also bang his door several times as hard as I dared.
When he got up hours later, he found me at the kitchen table waiting for him. I had before me something that I had gotten out of the garbage. It was the candle that my parents had given to me when I was only ten. It meant a lot to me. He had tossed it. My looks talked murder.
“Why did you trash the candle?” I demanded.
“It was in the way. I needed space for my new movie collection.”
“I got a really good deal on it. And it needed a place.”
My eyes squinted.
“Keep it in your room. I don’t care. Since you didn’t care asking me first. What about last month’s and this month’s rent by the way?”
He looked at me in surprise, and kept silent.
“About that. Yeah, I wanted to talk to you about that. See, my cousin needed some cash because he has some serious money problems, and I…”
I cut him off.
“And you think you have no money problems being not one, but two months behind? You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“I can give it to you next month, all at once, promise.”
“Oh shut up! Listen, buddy. You don’t pay your rent, you don’t clean. You don’t do any of your duties as flat mate. That means one thing: you pay me the two month’s rent by next week, or you’ll move out.”
“Woah, slow down! That’s a bit drastic, don’t you think? Do you have you PMS? Common, that candle is nothing to get so hysteric about.”
“I mean it. Pay. Or get out. Friday, and not one day later.”
With these words I left him standing in the kitchen with the candle on the table.
- Endings that might have been happy.
I knew that this couldn’t end well for him. The moment he came towards me with his glassy eyes, grabbing me and taking me to the smelly bin in the kitchen. I knew she wouldn’t approve of that. And so it was. The moment she spotted me, her eyes widened with surprise.
“Oh finally! I was afraid you’d never find me here!”
She didn’t move. Just stared at me.
“Erm, what about getting me out of this thing?”
That’s when she leaned over and toughed me with two fingers only – who can blame her? – and carefully set me on the counter. She cleaned me and once more I was grateful that my wax doesn’t take on smells quickly. We waited for him to return.
“How long do you want to allow him to step on you? You don’t deserve this. If your parents knew…”
“Shut up! Don’t start on the folks, you hear. He knows I can’t kick him out. I need the money.”
“Which money? Oh right, the money he hasn’t paid you in what… two months now?”
“I know. What do you suggest I do?”
“Easy. Tell him to pay, and then piss off.”
She did. And once more, I was proud of my little stubborn princess. She still has it in her.