I got into bed sometime past midnight last night. I decided to let my new candle burn overnight - I have been doing that some in the last month because I enjoy the scent and oils enveloping my sleep. Candles are the perfect nightlight. I bought a candle at a bookstore in the Heights on Friday - it smells like cloves. I've never had a clove candle. It reminds me of my nights off at Camp Aldersgate when I volunteered there during the summer after my Senior year of high school when I was 16.
My friend Kallie and I would take off together and head up the road to Alley Oops. She knew the owner and he would let us in underage - somehow she always managed to slip me a beer or two. After she loosened up she would jump onstage with whatever performer was playing that night - Steve Christie and Tim Sullivan I remember were the most frequent at the time. Her voice was incredible coming out of her heart-shaped face framed with golden blond hair - I used to listen and wonder at how brave she was to get up there. They mostly sang covers - Van Morrison and old country ballads. Crowd pleasers like the Eagles. B.B. King. Eric Clapton. I enjoyed sitting in a back corner table by myself getting lost in the music and atmosphere. We would always end the night with a clove cigarette before we headed back to camp to crawl in bed for early morning wake up.
Cloves cigarettes are a mixture of tobacco and cloves. The cloves have a natural analgesic numbing effect that makes your lips and mouth tingle. The taste on your lips is sweet and spicy and intoxicating. One was just perfect - more than one would have been too much. Sometimes it was so much I couldn't finish it.
I was remembering those nights as I fell asleep last night. At 3 a.m. my body and mind were jarred from sleep by my smoke alarm. My smoke alarm has only gone off twice before in this house over the last three years - both while I was cooking bacon in the morning and forgot to turn the vent on. So waking up to one was a new experience. Jack ran into my room as I was looking around confused and yelled "Smoke! Fire! It's the candle Mom!" Thank goodness I had a navigator in the situation to locate the source quickly. I looked over at the candle - the flame was high I imagined due to an overly large needing to be trimmed wick from which smoke was pouring out. "You are right, Jack - thank you. Let's go find Cecelia."
She was wandering around the front room in a daze. I quickly told her, "We are safe. It's just the smoke from a candle in my bedroom. No danger. I'll stop this infernal noise (I was yelling at her over shrieks I decided must be waking the dead and summoning alien forms in other solar systems) but first I have to pee really bad. Y'all wait here together."
I grabbed a step stool from Jack's room, located the smoke alarm in my bedroom, and pushed a button. Sweet auditory relief. We all hugged and headed to bed. We were all dragging today. As Jack described the candle at dinner tonight I was laughing in my head. "The flames were shooting to the ceiling! The black smoke was snaking over to the alarm!" It wasn't that bad, but that was his reality. And I loved hearing his poetic description of our night time adventure.
I think I'm going to blow out the candle before I go to bed for a bit.