For a good many months I've been reading at night without the benefit of a bedside lamp, the kind that people in the movies switch on reluctantly when a late-night phone call commences to wake them up and move the plot. I had been relying on the overhead bulb to illuminate my pages. It was fine, that bulb; it did what bulbs are supposed to do. It shone. I could see. Well enough to read. But I wanted more.
Now I have a small lamp to guide my eyes, and it is bright, bright enough to make me wonder why I had put off getting one for quite some time. The bulb is long and tubular, the neck gray and winding, the base aqua-green and plastic, the switch black and functional. (It does what switches are supposed to do.) Truth be told, it looks like some kind of prop that might be found in a movie about alien greenhouses. Not pretty. But who needs a pretty lamp? A lamp isn't supposed to be quaint; it's supposed to shine. Period.
This one does. In fact, it glows, goddamnit, which is all I ask of a lamp. I could give two shits if it blends in with assorted knickknacks that line this room in this house in this country, the Philippines.
I need a light that will make the words glow, mine and others. I need a light that will make me see clearer and deeper, from alternate angles that the overhead bulbs always seem to miss, almost intentionally. I need a light that will make me see, make me believe, make me persist in the necessary illusion that its glow will endure a little while longer, that I will find some kind of truth beneath its heat. That I will receive. If not a revelation, at the very least a pause, a respite, a thirty minute gap through which I can try to discern where the artificial light ends and some kind of authentic light can commence, transitory and unstable as it may prove to be.