Years ago, a dear friend, let’s call her Ms. G, told me of her experience after having finished her post-secondary education. She said she was so stunned by it all, she ended up buying a bottle of wine, taking it home and drinking it by herself. In my undergrad, my mentor often suggested having a relaxing bath with candles and music after presenting at a conference or a workshop. Recently, another dear friend, we’ll call her Ms. F, recommended lighting a candle and blowing it out, as grievance of a lost relationship.
Whether it’s a drink, a bath, or the blowing out of a candle, they all symbolise the same thing: closure. We all need it; sometimes we seek it from others, other times we have to provide it for ourselves, but without it we are left incomplete. It’s a homage, really. An appreciation of what once was, but no longer is— it demands celebration, grieving, something.
Today, I handed in my last assignment for my Masters degree and unlike my undergrad, or my law degree, this one marked the end of my ‘schooling’; at least in the traditional sense. After I handed it in, I went for a drive and ended up at the beach. Staring out into the tide as it began to rain. Closure, interrupted.
I came home and opened up the bottle of Ballentine’s my dad left behind. I lit a candle. I took out a glass, dropped in three ice cubes and poured just enough to cover the ice. Those who know me, know I don’t drink. Or smoke. Rest assured, I have plenty of other vices. But it felt like one of those occasions, you know. I swirled the viscous fluid and brought it up to my nose and felt a shiver through my entire body. Nope.
I sat alone in silence. Accompanied on occasion by the oh-so-unpleasant squawking of birds. I watched the ice cubes melt by the light of candle. I watched the flame flicker with each breeze from outside. I watched the flame engulf the wick from its blue base, to its yellow body, to the orange ember tips. I sat and watched as the wax melted into a puddle. Until eventually, the flame burnt out.