Three Candles

candles-beforeThey’d been walking hand-in-hand down the sunny side of Main Street.  She stopped in front of a window displaying candles, flower arrangements, leather-bound journals, potpourri sachets and tiny jars of hand creams.  Just then the door opened and they were enveloped by floral and citrus scents, sandalwood and patchouli.

Against his resistance, she pulled him inside the boutique.  She’d eyed these tiny clear blue votive holders.  They spoke to her of honesty, purity, timelessness, commitment and truth – all the things she believed she felt in this relationship with this man holding her hand.  They were a symbol of this new life full of promise and light.

She had to have them.

She could see herself – at the end of a day – lighting these candles to remind her of how lucky they were to find each other.  These candles would bring them close together at those times when life would get in the way and try to drag them apart.  These lit candles would be the glue that held them together.

She was sure that some nights he would light the candles for her or, at the very least, he’d light them with her.

He laughed at her enthusiasm about the three blue candle holders and pulled out his wallet.

When she got home, she lined up the candles on the window sill.  She told herself that she’d light them when the time felt right.


Time Passed

They were still together, so they bought a house.  It was either break-up or take the next step.

The blue candle holders were placed on the window sill in the new kitchen.


Some days weren’t as sunny as others.  She’d sip her coffee, look up at the window and wonder if lighting the candles would bring them closer together.  She wondered if there was any point in lighting the candles.  Maybe this was just a rough spot.  She told herself that all relationships had rough spots.

She decided to wait until things improved before lighting the candles.  That made more sense.  When they were close again, they’d celebrate by lighting the candles.


They decided to marry.  She hoped that would bring them closer together.

Maybe she’d light the candles then…


They had their first child.  Certainly, this precious new life would complete the circle.

Maybe she’d light the candle on the day they brought their baby boy home from the hospital.  Initially, there was joy and sleeplessness and diapers and confusion.

The candles sat unlit.


Toddlers are busy.  Toddlers are curious.  The candles were moved to a high shelf.

Time went by and when the first child was three years old, she learned she was pregnant.  She thought they’d have gotten closer by now.

The candles needed dusting.

Maybe she’d light them to celebrate the new baby.  She kept waiting for things to get better.  She told herself that after this, she’d light them, or after that, she’d light them.


The closeness was all but gone now.  The babies were no longer babies.  She didn’t have time to think about lighting candles.

On the first warm Spring day, the kids played outside while she cleaned the kitchen.  She was tired of looking at the dusty blue candle holders.  She couldn’t even remember why or where she’d gotten them.

Were they a gift?

She couldn’t remember the last time she’d lit a candle.

She boxed up the blue candle holders with some unused baby toys and stashed them in the garage.


Time Moved On

The kids were at the park across the street.  She’d be able to unpack the rest of the boxes.  They were getting settled into their new home.  There was a bedroom for each and enough bathrooms to keep the fights to a minimum.

He stayed at his house.

The lack of closeness had become something that couldn’t be fixed.

She found a shoebox that hadn’t been labeled.  Inside she discovered some tattered baby rattles, wooden blocks, and the blue candle holders.

She remembered having dusted those holders.  She remembered sipping coffee and red wine while staring at those candles, wondering if it was the right time to light them.

She put them on the window sill above the table in her new kitchen, and she turned to look for a box of matches.

She would no longer wait for the time to be right.

She would not wait for things to be perfect.

She would quit putting things off.

She would read the books, get out the cloth napkins, say the I-love-yous and I’m-sorrys, decide which projects needed finishing and which could be ditched.

She’d golf more with Will and play Barbies more with Jen.

She’d finish the baby books, start organizing the keepsake boxes, grow the perfect tomato and finally learn enough Spanish to order a meal in a restaurant.  She would set to planning her next vacation where she’d get to use Spanish.

In the summer, she’d buy a fishing license, pitch a tent and play more bocce ball with the kids.

In the winter, she’d learn to ski moguls and finally master a risotto that tasted as good as they say risottos are supposed to taste.

She had wasted too much time waiting.

She lit the


What are you waiting for?

Related Post

Whew! Whew! Mercury goes direct today. For those of you who don't believe in such things, I'm here to tell you that it would be good to prepare yourself before the next Mercury in Retrograde. My track record is spotty with surviving retrograde. This is t...
Write It Down Last week I got a word salad in my inbox.  Whether in oral form or written form, I've taken to mentally and physically preparing myself before making my way through these salads.  If he's delivering the word salad to me in person, I usually prop myse...
A Beginning Six months on the other side of divorce, this Thriver has fought the good fight, and now she's ready to see what's next. She's optimistic about whatever the future may hold.  She knows it's going to be tough to go it alone again, especially while rai...
Housekeeping My bathroom is dirty.  The kitchen floor needs to be mopped.  I probably haven't vacuumed in ...   I'm not going to tell you how long it has been. I was just  brushing  my  teeth, noticed the  spots on the bathroom mirror, the dusty  bathroom  floor ...

Tags: , , , , ,


  1. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story. You really have a gift!

    I hope that one of the projects that “needs finishing” is a book-writing project !


  2. Reese,

    I’ve missed you.

    Yes. That project is on there, too. ;)

  3. Well.


    That brought a tear. Very poignant and really just damn good writing.

    Thank you.

  4. Michael,

    No. Thank YOU, for reading and commenting.

    Here’s a tissue. ;)

  5. You know I love your writing. But I still need to say it. I LOVE YOUR WRITING!!

  6. And life is a little brighter with the candles lit….thanks!

  7. Pat,

    Can I say that I love hearing that from you?

    So glad you guys are home.

  8. Zaira,

    So true. Mine are lit as I write this.

  9. So moving. From the start I was captivated, anticipation and dread in equal measures. That sense of foreshadowing made me catch my breath as I kept reading.

    Beautiful, beautiful reminder that there is no someday.

  10. Sandi,

    Thanks for stopping by. ;)

    We have only so many precious days – yet another good reason for knowing when to say, “No.”

    Everybody – that’s a reference to a fine post that Sandi penned on her blog, Check it out.

  11. Jesse,

    NEVER stop writing. You have a gift x

  12. Tina,

    When those doubts keep me awake at night, I’m going to come back and read your comment.

    Thank you. No, I mean really, THANK you.

Leave a comment