Wednesday, July 04, 2007


It's nice to wake up to the chirping of birds outside my window, whose casements are only flung wide open on weekends. On weekdays, my room is like a prison cell in a dungeon. Thick, foam-lined insulator panels board up my glass windows, which are further darkened by heavy drapes. Only needle-thin rays of the sun filter through the small openings left uncovered by the panels. I have been doing this since I learned that total darkness helps my body produce serotonin while I sleep. Since I sleep during the day, I trick my body into believing that it is still night time, thus the insulators and curtains.

That morning was a totally different affair. I slept with the window wide open the night before. It felt refreshing and liberating to wake up with a cool breeze blowing from the trees instead of the oppressive coldness of the airconditioning.

But I didn't actually sleep well. I kept on thinking of the antique candlestick I wanted to buy at the mall. I saw it last week, got smitten by it, but didn't buy it because I didn't have cash and the store did not accept credit cards, after having been duped by a woman who bought several items using a fake card.

It was made in the 1930s, the saleslady had said. She didn't sound too convincing but judging from the rust, the dirt, the material, the craftsmanship, and the style of the piece, I would say it was made way before the 1930s. Now I'm not into antiques and I know nothing about telling the age of a piece through its apparent dirt, let alone understand the intricacies of deliberately aging metal to make it look old, but I had a strange feeling this was old. Really old. It smelled like it.

It stands thirteen inches tall. Made of heavy metal (I don't know exactly what type), it boasts of an exquisite design which smacks of the regal symmetry of classicism. It has a concave base ornamented by four acanthus leaves whose upturned tips reach down to form four legs. This base supports a corinthian bud opening out to a ribbed pillar which tapers up toward another corinthian-inspired, urn-like structure ending with a basin that holds the candle.

I have this fascination for candle holders, especially the classic, antique, standard-fare-on-your-grandma's-altar type. I don't know why. I just love having them around. I told my colleague once that I was probably a medieval, Catholic monk in my past life. I love spooky Catholic iconography and I adore old candelabra. The first one I had bought was a simple affair. It was silver-plated but its style is quite modern. It has three arms of varying levels, which grow from a plain circular base. It still stands on top of my piano, now all black, the silver plating having faded long ago.

I had also bought another silver-plated, five-branch candelabra months ago and it has stood on our dinner table since, commanding undivided attention from those who see it. We usually light all its candles whenever we eat something with vinegar. Its five tapers effectively ward off huge flies (resident insects of tropical countries) which are naturally attracted to that sour condiment. We only have to put up with the heat. It's like having a burning bush at lunch.

The new candlestick now stands on the other side of my piano, looking impressive and imposing. It looks so heavy and massive that my mother thought it might scratch off the piano's gleaming surface. If somebody had tried to mug me the day I bought it, I could've easily whacked his head with it and he would've died on the spot. That's how heavy this thing is.

I kept on imagining that this piece had some history, that it was part of a crumbling colonial mansion which had seen gruesome murders. Before I went up to sleep that night, I looked back, half expecting the specter of a woman in her nightgown standing before the candle holder, trying to reclaim what is rightfully hers. Unfortunately, not every candlestick comes with that added attraction.



At 9:44 AM, Blogger aryo said...

Ei! You're back! I thought you've gone into retirement. Nice to know you're blogging again.

At 11:11 AM, Anonymous Leah said...

I used to work nights and when I slept in the daytime, the darkened room helped a lot.

Hope you get the chance to finally get those candle holders. If you need any candles to match them, let me know. I sell those.

At 12:59 AM, Blogger slim whale said...

aryo -- i thought so, too. i'll try to be more visible now

leah -- i already have them. really? you also sell tapers? or just those huge scented candles? I can't find nice looking tapered candles anywhere.

At 12:11 PM, Anonymous Leah said...

Hey, slim whale, yes I do have those tapers. Different colours and unscented.

I'll send you an email with details if you want.

At 6:54 PM, Blogger slim whale said...

leah -- hey, that would be great! email me at thanks

At 7:28 PM, Blogger Jap said...

Hey slim, candelabras are indeed romantic and erotic (I see it as a phallic symbol hehehe) may come in handy when someone breaks into your house too! It is, after all, one of the weapons in Cluedo LoL =)

At 8:55 PM, Blogger slim whale said...

jap -- if a candlestick is a phallic symbol, then what is a five-branch candalabrum? a phallus with a dick ring? i hope i get to use the candle holder first before the burglar uses it to kill me. hehe.


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