The Lamp

It’s a beautiful thing.  The base is black and shines like glass.  It might be glass, or some sort of shiny ceramic glaze.  The black base sits on several rings of antique gold, and the arm extends up in more swoops and swirls of antique gold.

Do you call the upright part of a lamp that holds the bulb the arm?  I don’t know.  I’m too tired to look it up.  You know what I mean.

The original shade is long gone.  I think it had black trim.  I used to dance under that shade in the lamplight.  My childhood home didn’t have an overhead light in the living room.  I remember it was cold outside and dark outside and I wasn’t in bed yet, and Dad was working late, and I was cold so I put on Mom’s sweater and flapped around the living room like a bird.  I flapped around that lamp, pretending it was the sun.

I’ve always tried to put warm, yellow bulbs in the lamp, trying to recreate that night– the cozy friendly home, and that yellow sun.

We do what we can as adults.

When the new weird spiral lightbulbs came out, I bought a pack that said “daylight” assuming it would be that warm, yellow color.  Instead it was a harsh, ugly, screaming white.  It looked like the house was lit up by a UFO when I pulled in the driveway, and when that bulb burned out it took me three tries before I found a friendly warm yellow colored bulb again.

The shade now is tattered and coming apart on the side, a replacement of a replacement.

I should replace it.

The shade, I mean, not the lamp.

But there’s money needed for other things.  And it works for the moment, even if the shade doesn’t befit the beautiful vintage lamp.

Is it vintage, or just old?

Vintage sounds so much better.  Vintage implies a desire to cherish, a feeling of belonging.  My vintage lamp sits in the corner of my spare bedroom, important.  A piece of nostalgia with a warm yellow bulb shining determined and cheerful in the corner.

That’s why I turned it on.

I turned it on six weeks ago.  No, seven.  I turned it on the night of your doctor’s appointment.  You were laying in this room, wrapped in a black fuzzy blanket, looking out the window, watching the birds on the ground.  That was your favorite thing to do lately, and I tried to make that window and this room as comfortable for you as I could.  So I turned the lamp on.

You turned towards the golden light and lifted your head like you could smell it.  Maybe you could.  Then you turned back to the window.

I left the lamp on ever since.  You seemed to like it.  You’d lay directly under it sometimes, like you were trying to absorb the rays of an imaginary sun.

Like maybe it would heal you.

Or maybe you just liked the light.

I don’t know.

I left the lamp on the entire time.

“Weeks,” the doctor said.

It was seven.

Tonight I turned the lamp off.

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