My mama gave me these candles for a special occasion few years ago, it must have been my birthday or Christmas. It was still at the height of my debilitating perfectionism – making sure everything served its right purpose – and I saved lovely things rather than use them, until they couldn’t be recognized under all the dust.
I wish dust is all that happened to these candles. I was so excited to get them: a sign that my mother understood my taste and interests, candles for entertaining guests, made in South Africa – a place I always favored – wrapped in twine and possessing a little note that explains the colors and design. I loved everything about them.
And then they melted.
I couldn’t bring myself to use them – and lose them – of course not considering that lighting the wicks might be a fair trade for great memories gained at a dinner party or romantic evening. Instead, I placed them on my windowsill on prominent display, a more permanent and duly distinguished spot, I thought. But the sun streamed in, and I didn’t notice the fading of the vivid colors or the misshapenness of the candles until they fused together and turned into strange phalluses. Now they’re a reminder of how perfectionism bites me in the ass, how I didn’t get to use them as beautiful candles or display them in perpetuity, and I just can’t look directly at these two melded penises that were a gift from my mother. It’s time to let them go and be embraced anew with the same excitement and vision I had when I first received them.
— hand delivered in New York City