I see an old man and his wife with a large, heavy looking lamp, reminiscent of the old time gas lamps that lined the streets of Paris in a time before our exploitation of electricity.
With the stand and it’s cumbersome head, easily ten pounds apiece, the man removes it gingerly from the trunk of his silver CRV under the watchful gaze of his wife. I can already see that their intended desire is to sell the lamp is folly. A red sign on the front door of the seldom frequented lamp place across the street states -CLOSED- which now at second glance does actually appear to say -OPEN-.
The man’s legs aren’t what they used to be; he shuffles slowly, but not as slow as others his age might be. His bald head is surrounded by a half circle of frosty hair. With their pace, the man with the lamp, the elderly wife behind him, make their way up the rough concrete stairs: pushed and warped by the grassy hill in front of the old store, attempting to devour all human constructs.
The man pants, battling the growing realization that his carrying days are numbered. Step by step, he makes it, leading his wife from the car to the stairs in the hill.
His wife fusses over something in her bag as the man makes for the door. Before he can reach it, the wife stops and says something along the lines of “I forgot (this or that) at home.”
The man with the lamp turns and irritably talks with her yet only with the kind of anger that comes from the burden of a heavy lamp and annoyance with a loved one.
Anyway, whatever problem occurred, the two continue along the overgrown concrete towards the door, the old man lugging the heavy lamp, the old woman right behind him until they finally see the entrance which bears the sign. On third glance it must say closed after all. The two stand side by side as though the world has dropped away from them. At first thought to me, it is that they cannot fathom the sign being on display, but more likely they are reading the open/closed times.
Side by side they stand at the door as though something may occur to make it open.
Alas, it is fruitless, and although there is no outward showing of emotion, I get the feeling that the old man is annoyed in that way of a working person, always willing to take the burden but unhappy over futility in it. His world becomes that of Sisyphus in an instant. The woman is filled with the void of reality, of unhinged plans and wasted time. Just for a moment,
the time it takes for them to make their way back to the trunk of the CRV and stow the heavy lamp for another day.