´Thump-thump she lowers the narrow and steep staircase to her worn-out apartment door. In her early days in England she wondered what it would be like to live in one of those flats below the street level, hiding in the darkness, seeing a glimpse of sun only by a miracle. She thought it would be dreadful and painfully discouraging. After all, sunlight meant energy and without it one would be sucked empty. Well, it turned out be not that bad.
She fiddles with the keys, looking for the one that would let her into safety, away from the publicity, the open eye of the street. Away to a place where she could relax all the muscles and be as sad or happy as she wishes. She finally finds the little metal piece granting her entrance and pushes the door open. Still creaking. She might find it romantic. Some other day, some other situation.
The one-room studio flat takes her in, suffocating its darkness over her. She doesn’t flick the switch to make the electric lights magically appear. Instead, she reaches into her purse and fetches a candle smelling like Christmas. Nostalgia takes over her when she looks back to the days when she used to be a small Estonian child, marvelling at the thick endless snow and believing in elves. She waited them to leave a delicious gift in her stocking Grandma lovingly sew. She crouched in the dark, away from the window as not to frighten the awaited guests, only an aromatic candle giving faint light to the room. Now she is again alone with the candle, trying to tell herself she’s not waiting but knowing that secretly she is.
She stumbles to her fading-green-in-daylight-mere-grey-in-dimness-sofa-bed and sets the candle on the tiny wooden table nearby. This is where she eats her meals, reads her books, does all the table-activities. She congratulates herself of having remembered to buy some matches which she now grabs. She lits one, watches it burn, almost until her fingers catch fire and blows it out. For a moment she fell into a sinful thought of letting herself to become ashes. No use. Life goes on. The next glowing match finds its way to the candle, willing to fill the room with sweetness of Christmas meals some people might be having soon. With their loved ones. With families.
Sinking into the sofa, she crawls into a caterpillar. A flowery blanket covers her shivering slender body. Tucking the brown curl behind her ear, she dreams. The same dreams she had months ago. When everything still seemed possible. In her fantasy, she isn’t solitary on the couch. Her double-self, her soul mate is gripping his firm hands around her, protecting. They are in the same country. Struggling and poor but happy. She always wanted to be poor with him. Live in a little shag. Earn a little and take joy in the smallest of delights, such as candlelight on a dark night. Hunt for the cheapest food and forget her obsession with new clothes. Cherish each other and save. Dream of a big house. She herself chose the poorness. Not that she came from a not-so-well-doing family but the country she was residing at was much more demanding than her own. A challenge.
But her dreams weren’t his dreams. He was unwilling to leave. His comfort zone being more valuable than her love. Well, the passion had worn out. Her hoped-for renewal of needing each other didn’t happen. He didn’t come after her. And she decided not to go. She didn’t buy the flight tickets. She rejected home, being stubborn, hoping for a romantic thing to happen. This was going to be the first Christmas all on her own. With her candle. Before she cut all the connections with her former life and plunged into adventure of new shaggy home, she wrote a poem. Love poem. Addressed to him. Including her new address, not the one the university had assigned for her earlier. Inception. She had pressed the “Restart” button.
In her mind’s eye, he is going home after a happy day at work, one that doesn’t effectuate in enormous loads of stress; one that doesn’t pack itself into his pocket and came along. She has his favourite meal steaming hot and ready to be dug in. She smiles and tells that her online business has finally kicked off. They can afford a cinema next week. She has bought champagne. He grins. Widely. She drops the dressing gown she wears on cold days and he notices she only has some sexy lingerie underneath. And then they forget all about the food. But, no. This is another reality. Something that has not yet happened. Something that might never happen. She sighs, sinking deeper into her lonesome sofa. There’s enough room for two. But maybe she is destined to be alone. She decides that if it is so, if fate accepts her choice, then she’ll be solitary. As long as it takes. The candle burns brightly.