first lightbulb

From Luxury Candles To Impossible Light Bulbs

1875

We would come home from school as early as possible to finish our homework before the sunset. It was a real challenge to finish tons of paperwork in a limited amount of time. Especially in the winter, when the sun was “obliged” to set early, we had no other choice than to “lie” to our teachers that there was no light. It was such an era that not having access to any sort of electricity was a colossal problem, but we weren’t aware of such an issue since we had no idea what electric even meant.

The most we could do was to finish as much work as possible in the daytime. It was hard, though. While there were kids who were playing with snow, we had to do homework in the breaks. However, there were also kids who had a good relationship with money. There were candles at the time which were really expensive. We couldn’t buy any, since my father was the only one to bring money to our family. We even had issues with paying for the food we ate. How could’ve we had afforded something that wasn’t an actual necessity?

One day, I couldn’t stand the “no light” situation anymore. I told everything to my father, although I knew he would’ve been angry with me. “Can’t we just buy 1 candle? I really can’t do anything without it. It’s almost night after 6 p.m. and you can’t imagine how hard my life is without daylight and I can’t finish my homework without it. It’s my birthday soon. Can’t we do something?” My father gave me a deadly stare, and scurried off to his bedroom with angry, banging footsteps. I had already known the answer before I asked him anything. Since my father didn’t work out, this time, I told the same thing to my mother.

“Mother! We need some kind of source to provide daylight. It’s so hard to do homework without … and my dad didn’t seem to care about my problem. Could you help me solve this? I know it doesn’t fit our economic situation, but a candle will do wonders for our family.”  My mother responded with a heartwarming expression, “Oh honey… My parents would make us go to sleep at 7 p.m. in the winters, just because they thought that ‘dark’ was supposed to mean that it was night. There was no way to prove that it wasn’t that late at all! We didn’t even have candles back in the time. I had to live like this until I was married. I will try to equip those candles just for you, my dear. Likewise, I would be truly hurt If you felt the same way I did.”

Those candles… They were the prettiest I had ever seen. They had carved snowflakes around, decorated with special glitter. Would they disappear if I touch them? Never had I ever seen anything more beautiful than those snow-white candles. I would do anything for those outstanding decorations. How could they light something so precious…            I was at Alexander’s house, obviously. They were one of the richest families in town. They had a four-story modern house, filled with the most appealing paintings painted by well-known painters. Not only that, but they had a different type of candle on every step. Were they scared of the dark? Their house could even be considered a “modern candle store for rich people” if they put a sign on their door. Would Alexander give a candle away to our pitch black house buried underground?

1883

A few years had passed from my candle request. It never arrived. My mother had promised she was going to get one from my birthday, and she never did. My father never did, also. I never had another time to ever touch wax ever again. It was the only and last time I was going to touch those candles ever again. I can’t even remember what it felt like. I never told about it to anyone again. They were really expensive. It would be far from logical to spend a week worth of income on such an insignificant object, although there was nothing else I wanted. One day, my father came home. He had never arrived earlier before. Was there something off. He had a really luxurious leather bag in his hand, containing a thick wooden box. What was this supposed to mean? Did he get himself a luxury suite? Was it a gift from his boss? Did he sell the house to get such sumptuous item? My brain was producing so many questions at this very moment. My heart started to beat faster than usual. Did I have a fever? The questions continued to form. I couldn’t resist anymore.

“What’s in that bag, father?” I had never seen him happier ever in 17 years.

“I got our family a light bulb!”

“A what?!!??”

“A light bulb! I have been saving up for this moment all my life. I knew something like this would be invented eventually. Happy birthday, my dear.”

“Excuse me, what is exactly meant by a ‘bulb’?”

“When you turn on the switch, it’s supposed to spread light around the room. I have been waiting in the line for 7 hours just to get us this precious bulb.”

I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was impossible. We didn’t even get to have a candle, and now, our family has something that’s related with electricity. Though 8 years had passed from my birthday, this gift was worth a lifetime of birthday presents…

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