by Keith Bodayla
The lamps were given to Angela’s great-grandmother by her slave owner on the day that he freed her. They had burned kerosene long ago but Angela’s mother had seen a greater future for them and had them turned into electric lamps that burned small flame-like bulbs. They were given to Angela when she got married with instructions to do the same for the daughter she would one day have.
Now the lamps were worthless. The frosted glass and bulbs broken, the shards carried miles away by flood waters. Tears welled up in Angela’s eyes and finally burst through, running down her dark cheeks.
David came over and put his one good arm around his wife. At her feet were the two lamps – the prized possessions of her family, passed from mother to daughter for generations.
“At least they’re here,” he said. “We can have them fixed.” His wife began to cry harder and he knew it had been a dumb thing to say.
“I don’t care about them. It’s not worth it anymore,” she said between sobs. Then, she stopped abruptly and looked at her husband. “I only would have cared about them if I still had someone to pass them on to.”
David thought for a moment that his wife almost smiled at the irony of it all. But the moment passed and he continued to hold his crying wife into the night as they waited for a new day to come.