The lamp wouldn’t turn on. Click. Click. Soft, worn fingers turned the switch again. Click. “Fabia!”
The younger woman lifted the floor lamp. Maria shifted several satin covered throw pillows with a rich embroidered flower pattern to the loveseat so Fabia could lay it on the couch.
Maria’s hands became nimble with familiarity, taking apart the lamp and the main wire that ran from the light socket to the base. Years of working on the assembly line made the job easy. When Maria inherited the house from her parents she’d kept everything exactly the same all these years.
“Look.” Maria showed Fabia the frayed end. “Go to the store.”
Fabia plucked the wire from Maria’s hands. An hour later she dropped the plastic bag with the new wire on the couch. “It’s here.”
Maria still trusted her hands. This was a simple job. Just replace and secure the wire.
The wire wouldn’t go back in the lamp. Maria wondered if her hands had finally failed her. She told Fabia, “Lets get some pliers. She left the lamp on the couch and with a belabored groan laid the wire on the floor.
Maria and Fabia’s voices trailed off around the corner.
My lamp. I loved that lamp. I was looking for a match to my living room furniture and there it stood in the show window. My husband read the paper by that lamp every night like my daughter does now.
Maria and Fabia returned to the living room. Fabia bent down. “Where’s the wire?”
“On the floor. Did you kick it?”
Fabia swept her hand under the couch. The lamp at eye level, resting where she’d left it. Fabia looked at Maria her eyes wide.
“Plug it in.” Maria whispered.
Fabia balanced the lamp in her hands the way an explosives expert carried a ticking bomb. She plugged it in. Maria’s soft, worn fingers turned the switch. Click. The lamp’s glow illuminated the recliner and the newspaper lying in the seat.