The Love's Candle Inn

On the south end of Maple Street, number three fifty-five, stands an old painted lady with a new painted sign and a beeswax candle stub in the attic window. Park on the cobblestoned drive and pass through the whitewashed fence, and you'll stand at the door of the Love's Candle Inn.

"We're a bed and breakfast, actually," your hostess will say with a laugh and eye-twinkle as she welcomes you for drinks in the lobby. "But the Inn has a nicer ring to it in commercial jingles, don't you agree?"

Agree and continue, or disagree, or ignore the comment altogether as you and your lover exchange a heated look. We won't mind, and your hostess won't care either way, as she signs you in and leads the way up the stairs to the room in the east corner of floor three, right under the attic window with the beeswax candle on the sill.

"This is our honeymoon suite, as I'm sure you'll recognize from the brochure," the hostess will say, as you ooh and you ahh and eye up the four-poster in the corner by the stained-glass windows. No doubt you'll nod and say "oh?" or "really?" as the hostess's words wash over you with the ease of white noise.

"This, of course, was the master bedroom when the house was first built in the mid-1800s. The lady of the house wed her husband on the eve of the civil war and spent only one night here with him before he was called away."

In the naturally enchanting light of golden hour, try to focus on what she says, but don't worry if your mind wanders to the soft skin peeking from the collar of your lover's shirt and passion-tinted fantasies of the skin beneath the fabric, imagining trailing fingers and kisses down the chest, and lower... Eye the bed, and each other; make plans. We won't think any less of you.

"For years, the lady of the house lit a candle in the attic to bring her beloved husband home, to stand as a beacon to find his way back to her. Every night for years she slept in a cot there to check on the candle and make sure it was lit. You see, she told him before he rode away that she would wait until his return, however long it took, and then their life together would truly begin. And she lit that candle to guide him home to her, to bring life back to their home."

Say "Oh really?" and "What happened then?" even if you're preoccupied with the thought of your lover's naked form lit up in the morning sunshine from the stained glass windows. Humor the hostess, even while your lover's eyes, and the room, and we woo you where you stand. The room was made for this purpose, after all. It'd be a shame to ignore such design, such drama, ambiance, and atmosphere as it envelopes you and your lover.

"He came home, late in the night, and saw the candle in the attic window and the lady asleep in her cot. When he came in, the draft blew out the candle and she woke to relight it but he took her hand in his, and with his other, lit the candle for her. 'To start our life again,' he said."

By then, the hostess will know you're less than interested in her stories, remind you of the inn's menu and their kitchen and services and politely excuse herself from the room even if you're already sitting on the edge of the bed, testing it out. Go ahead, call your lover over. Caress and sigh and moan in each other's arms all you like. Stay in until noon and start the whole process over again. Taste and touch and tease...

We won't interrupt you.

Through the tours, through the talks, right up to the foreplay and wanton dispersal of clothes on the floor, we wait. Some conscious, some not. We will forever linger in the dust and the walls and the cracks in the floor, anchored here for our own reasons. Stagnant, wallowing, empty.

But then you come along! You, my friend, are electric! Oh glorious wave and surge of warmth, of feeling, of life!

You and your lover will revive the marriage bed, rekindle the passion latent in the walls, as you groan and writhe and tangle in each other. In the wildness, the rawness, the lifeness of it all, you reach out to us unknowingly, break down the divide and spill your passion-fire on the house and the spirits and the memories...

And you set ablaze the beeswax candle in the attic window.

While you are all-senses-blazing, so are we. We absorb, and delight, and feel. Oh, how we feel again!

In the attic, the old master of the house caresses the lady's bare shoulder as if for the first time, and the candle blazes as his hands and your hands seek lower, stripping away barriers, clinging flesh to flesh...

The lady sighs as your lover does, at your heat, and his heat, and the rising flame of the candle in the window. The fire lashes at the air, amber tongue exploring its limits, finding none, as the pace quickens and the house and you and your lover and the spirits all build energy and feeling and oh! A splutter! A snap, a pop! The candle sparks and smokes as you gasp in your lover's arms and the spirits and the house gasp with you.

As the candle flickers out, holding on but slipping lower, lazing on its wick, we dream. We think new thoughts, we dream new dreams. We feel... until the candle goes out and it's all just another memory in the house.

And though we return to our stagnation, our wallowing and emptiness, you give us a new memory, a new knowledge: the next time you, or another, and a lover, and love signs in to stay in the room in the east corner of floor three, we will feel again. The candle in the attic window will burn brightly and life will return to the Love's Candle Inn.