Last night I was tidying my room (don't ask) when I came across a very grimy jelly candle on my DVD shelf. It should've really been thrown out years ago, maybe when the dirt began seeping into the jelly, but I've clung onto it. Because, of course, there's a story behind it.
When I was working at a company in Stockton in 2008-2009, I travelled in a little early every morning. Better to be early rather than late. And, being me, I took a book to the break room and sat there munching crisps from the vending machine (wasn't big on proper breakfast, sue me) reading until I reluctantly went to do some work. For the most part, I had the break room to myself. It was always half dark, always gave the impression that I shouldn't be in there and should just start working early instead. Towards the end of my time there, though, I found I had company. Whereas I chose a table, she chose an easy chair and read over there. I smiled at her as I walked out of the room and we had one proper conversation - one. Nevertheless, she became a part of my morning.
On the day I left I saw her in the break room and told her it was my last day. Later, I was just getting back from lunch when I saw a little bag on my desk. It was this little candle. I was perplexed, having already been given my HMV vouchers as my leaving present, but my supervisor told me a woman none of them really knew had just dropped it in. When I walked past her desk later (it was the first time I realised she worked on my floor), she smiled and asked if I liked it. I said thank you, she waved it away and that was that.
You know, I never even knew her name. It's a bit perverse that I've kept a memento commemorating the amount of time I sat silently in a room with another human being while both of us read but, then, it's me. So maybe it's not that perverse. I appreciate the fact that a virtual stranger was going to miss my presence on a morning, as I would've missed hers had she been the one to leave.
I'd include a picture if it wasn't really, really grimy. Everything on that shelf is. Perhaps I'll just clean around it this time, see how long it'll last for.