The Flame of Friendship

Written January 2007.

Sometimes, friendships are like candles. They burn their brightest when first lit, when the first sparks of a new relationship are ignited. There’s a certain excitement that carries a new relationship forward, that fans the flame, a craving for knowledge about this other person, a craving to find common interests. Certain friends fit certain types of candles. Some friends are more important to us than others, just as some candles are larger than others. Depending on how we nurture these new relationships, we can either develop one of those whopping candles as thick as a tree trunk that’ll burn for years and years, or we can develop a tea candle kind of relationship that burns out before the scent even hits our noses.

Friendships can last as long as the two people want them to. You can always work up more wax or whittle away at the wick.

Just as candles can be quite soothing, so are the friendships they represent. Candles can bring light to the dark. So can friends. Candles provide warmth. So do friends. Candles can provide a peaceful tranquility on tough days. So do friends. Sometimes, it seems friends and candles are all we need to know to be happy. But, there’s a major difference between friends and candles. You can always count on the candle.

Friends are nice to rely on. Friends are good options to place your trust in. Friends are free and fun. But, sometimes friendships go sour. The spark is gone and there’s only the faintest of flames that clings to the candle. Sometimes friends lie. But, with candles, there is always one truth that can be acquired, one promise that will always be kept. No matter how good friends make you feel, no matter the duration of the sensation, the candle will always burn out. Consequently, so will friendships.

Even the greatest of relationships end at some point. The sweet smell of candles are always followed by the stink of smoke, the last remnants of dead wax. The flame has been extinguished with only gray vapor left alive, wiggling and snaking its way through the air until it slowly dissipates, much like the connection between friends it once used to represent, it once used to keep lit. Whether by a falling out or a failure to breathe, relationships burn out, no matter how strong or weak you’ve made them. Sometimes, it’s not your choice in the matter. Sometimes, the other person blows out the blaze, while other times fate fizzles the flame.

Relationships, much like candles, aren’t meant to last forever. And much like candles, they are meant to be enjoyed while lit, enjoyed only for the moment, for all moments end. Knowing it’ll end will make the smells much sweeter, the light much warmer and the comfort much more cozy. Friends will lead you to the light, but in the end, they will always leave you in the dark, always leave you lonely, always leave you up in smoke.

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