The church bells tolled solemnly, filling the air with a metallic sound. No matter the event, this sound has always been ominous to my ears and I usually hurried along, head low.
This time, I wasn't in a hurry to go anywhere. I was standing among the mass of people, huddled around the church in the street, in the parking lot. We were all listening to the bell, waiting.
A little after midnight, the little flickers of light started moving out of the church and spread among the crowd, passed on from person to person. Soon, everyone had a lit candle in their hands.
The wind was blowing in gusts, making the tiny flames dance and shiver. We tried to cover them with plastic cups, with our hands, not letting the light go out. Some succeeded, others had theirs blown out and had to ask their neighbour to help them light theirs again.
Slowly, the masses started dissipating, each on their way home, carrying their prized candles in their hands. Walking home, with one hand over the plastic cup we had improvised as shelter for the lights, I could feel the heat on my palm. That heat was very familiar.
Every year, on Easter, I would go with my family to a nearby church at midnight, to get some light. Every year, the same nervousness, joy, worry about the little candle in my hand. We would sometimes stay for the mass too, singing Easter songs and saying to one another the traditional words "Christ has resurrected" and "Truly he has."
This year, I looked at my little candle with new eyes. Harder eyes, thinking that all of this was a cute charade, but nothing more. The only thing I had left was walking home, taking care of the candle. The little symbolic light of hope that I somehow needed to keep alive.
Happy Easter everyone!