Burning the Candle at Both Ends

First FigMy candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends— It gives a lovely light. -- Edna St. Vincent Millay

It’s last Wednesday night. Marathon Girl and I have just put the kids to bed. We’re in our bedroom. I open up my laptop and check my email. Galleys for The Third have arrived. I start scanning the file, anxious to do one final edit on my book before it goes to press.

“Are you going to watch LOST?” Marathon Girl asks.

I gave her my best deer-in-the-headlights look.

“Lost?” I reply.

Marathon Girl gives me a look—the one she always give me when she’s trying to tell if I’m being facetious.

“Yeah, you know, LOST,” she says. “That show you’ve been obsessing over for the last six years.”

“Oh, that show,” I say. “Yeah, I want to watch it. What time is it on?”

“It was on last night.”

I pause. “Why didn’t we watch it?”

“Because you went to the local caucus meeting then stayed up until midnight getting your website ready to post chapters from The Third.”

“I did?”

Marathon Girl nods. “Positive.”

“Are you sure LOST was on last night?” I ask.

“One hundred percent.”

“Why didn’t you say anything when I got home?”

“I did. You just said something about watching it later.”

“That doesn’t sound like me.”

“I know.”

“What day of the week is it?”


“You sure?”

“Check the calendar.”

“Hmmmmm. We waited until Thursday watch it last week, right?” I ask hoping for a sign we watched it earlier.

“That’s right. Because you were busy with your new job.”

“And the week before that?”

“You were busy wrapping things up with your old job.”

“And the week before that one.”

“I don’t remember. But something came up.”

“My life sounds kind of busy.”

“It is.”

“I should slow down. Stop and smell the roses. That sort of thing.”

“You should.”

“Any suggestions?”

“You could put the computer away and spend some time with me.”

I close the laptop. “Okay where do we start?”

“Want to watch LOST? It’s Richard Alpert’s back story.”

“It is?”

“You don’t know what the episode’s about? You really have been busy.”

“OK. Rest of the night it’s just me and you. No writing, editing, or anything else. Just us.”

“I like that idea.”

“Then tomorrow it’s back to burning the preverbal candle at both ends.”

Marathon Girl has stopped smiling.

“OK. I’ll just burn one end at a time.”

Marathon Girl smiles. We go and watch LOST—which was great.