Two Perspectives on a Light Bulb

The milky glass is as delicate as a frozen soap bubble. It whispers under my fingertips as they brush against it, reaching for the switch. A smart click. The light comes readily, eager and bright. Without the lampshade there is nothing to stifle it. It beams. The air close by it tastes warm and smooth. The filament crackles almost imperceptibly, like the contented chirping of an insect, so proud and happy in its work. It glows. A thread spun from flame and saturated with liquid sunlight, illuminating its own small world. It guards its surroundings, securing things which would disappear in an instant if not for the bright light painted over them. A loyal and tireless sentinel. So fragile, and yet so strong. Casting its light so far and so freely. It flickers every now and then, winking, just to let me know it’s still watching over everything and keeping the shadows at bay.

The glass is glossy smooth, but I know how sharp and quick to injure it will be if it breaks. And it is so liable to break. So brittle. So fickle. It would give in at the stress of even the slightest impact. Yet the light is strong. A false pretense. A hypocrisy. It is oblivious to its own weakness. The light is harsh, pressing my eyes relentlessly, scouring the room, and refusing to let anything alone. It is impossible to ignore, demanding attention. When I look at it it blinds me, determined I should see nothing but its own glaring white blaze. I can almost hear it mercilessly sucking the energy it needs. I close my eyes and the filament burns through my eyes lids, branding itself on my vision even in my blindness. A faint crackling scraping sound scratches at my ears. Not so much that it hurts- just enough to make me wince. My nose wrinkles against the smell of heat and metal and the light flickers. The bulb is loose. I try to tighten it properly. It burns my fingertips.

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