The bulb

He did not notice it at first but he had a magic lightbulb in his bathroom. It would, if found dead, magically relight at the flick of his wrist or as he walked towards it. Each time he thought it must be gone it came back to him and, though no one did, if asked he would have no idea why.

As the years passed he found himself thinking more about the lightbulb. He had long since moved out of the apartment but, when he recalled it, the bulb came to mind. ‘I just want to see if it’s still on,’ he would tell friends, ‘I just want to see if, if I walked in there again, it’d light up for me like before.’

One day he learnt that his old apartment was up for rent again. He phoned his landlord and, changing his voice, made an appointment at the general viewing that weekend. On that day he joined the crowds waiting before his old front door. They moved around the small rooms – how had he lived there at all, he asked himself – before they came to the bathroom door. His heart jumped; the landlord opened it. But where the bulb had used to be was just a blank socket and his old mirror hanging beneath it on the wall.