Lament for the Lightbulb

I came home from school on spring break today. At mid-afternoon, my room was brightly lit from the large double window that faces south when I headed up the stairs to deposit my two backpacks. I was greeted by the familiar sight of the matching twin beds that my sister and I have slept in for years now, the banner of pictures--one of each my best-beloveds--that swoops across the corner above my armchair, and the hand-painted quote tree that graces my walls with its wisdom. My room has been rearranged, redecorated and repurposed several times over the five years we've lived in this house. Somethings haven't changed--like the fact I don't believe the bookshelf has ever been moved... but I could be wrong there. But there is one thing that has stayed constant over these five years, one thing that hasn't changed amid the rearranging and repaintings, one thing that has always been there--till now.

This evening my lightbulb passed away. I came up to the room after dinner to change and turned my lights on  as the sun had set. As I went to the window to draw my curtains, turning my back on the lamp on my nightstand, the light flickered and dimmed. I turned back to my lamp, peering down the shade to see the filament glow orange and flicker brightly for a moment, then slowly fade to darkness as it gave up its spirit. I gave a cry of, "no! nooo!" as I took off the shade to see if maybe it was just loose in the socket. But no, it was truly gone. This lightbulb had moved from Florida with us 5 years ago. It had burned brightly in my lamp for longer than that. It had come to symbolize to me how far I'd come since that move at age 16. I had even written my first creative non-fiction piece on the subject of that lightbulb and my life-changing move. (Click HERE to read it on my other blog) My mom, who had heard my distress from the other room came to find me cradling the lifeless, lightless bulb in my hands. She understood. "Thats the lightbulb, isn't it." I nodded as I brushed off black soot with my thumb, remnants of the fragrant, familiar incense that had accompanied my heartbroken prayers years ago, during the Great Loneliness.

I'm glad I was here when it happened. It's been beside me for so long, lighting my midnight readings and musings, that if it had gone out one day while I was at school, I would have been sad. But instead, I witnessed its last light-giving, and while I mourn its company, I realize that it marks the passing of another season of growing up. Long gone are the days of loneliness. The 16-year-old I was, though still remembered, is no longer. She's grown and changed so much. She's become me. As I head in to the final stretch of my undergraduate studies this year, Im beginning to realize that this girlhood room is not mine for much longer. Plans for apartment living are being tentatively sketched out in my mind. Graduate school looms in the future. I'm moving on. I like to think that the lightbulb knew.

I'm not throwing it away. I thought about a burial in the backyard, but then I remembered Pinterest. I've seen loads of repurposed lightbulb crafts. I think my windowsill will be seeing a new knick-knack in the future.

Goodbye, O faithful Lightbulb. You have been a faithful companion these 5+ years. I will always remember the soft glow and warm friendship of your light.

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