Carlos Antonio Piñón

artist, writer, performer


That Light That Flickers

by Carlos Antonio Piñón
June 8, 2011

That light that flickers. It's not special, but it gets the job done. Those other lights burn brighter, but die sooner. I could always depend on that light that flickers.

The room is dark with self-loathing and disappointment. There's a nightlight in the far back corner of the room. The nightlight, like Tomas, is low on energy and cracked somewhere within. Tomas tries his best to shine, but every aspiration dies in the wind before anything is accomplished. One day, the nightlight sparked these amazing flares of an indescribable mixture of intense color and the flames quickly spread. Tomas stood amongst the flames and stood amazed. The nightlight had a mental breakdown and spread farther than imagined. Tomas stood in shock of how easy everything burnt around him. He didn't care about anything in the room at all since he had nothing to care for anymore. Tomas soon realized that it was time to take control, that being in situations like this was not matter of which time can be wasted, so he turned around—surprised to find himself surrounded by flames. Without regret, Tomas kicked the window in attempt to save himself, but instead, the flames devoured him.

The firefighters came rushing in. They put out every inch of the fire when they found Tomas lying on the floor, lifeless. One of the firefighters noticed writing on the wall, so he figured it was the last words of a doomed man. He couldn't get a good sight of it because the lights went out, so he used his flashlight and it read, "To Whom It May Concern: there's no one here I can tell my story to, so I leave my life on this white wall of life. There's paint all over this wall from a project I had done recently. I was assigned to capture the image of the beauty of life, so I took my paintbrush and started painting. I showed my teacher the painting, but he seemed puzzled. He didn't understand why I painted a nightlight. I told him that there was no beauty in life, that there was no point in living, so he kicked me out of the room. I didn't quite understand him, but now I do. Life should not be taken for granted and we can do whatever we aspire to until we truly cannot. There is nothing more than I would want than to get out of this room with my life, but I understand if it is my time. If so, I give my best hopes to everyone who is feeling suicidal. I understand the danger of kicking this window, but the air is filled with smoke. If I'm going to die, I'm going to die with oxygen in my lungs and to this, I bid you farewell."

The firefighter looked over to the others and asked, "Isn't the electricity in this building down?" They looked at him with a blank stare and said, "Yeah. You saw, we turned the lights on and off, but nothing." So he walked down to the far back corner of the room and asked, "Then how is this nightlight on? It doesn't appear to be affected at all. At the very least, I expect it to flicker, but no. It's lit up bright."

Don't waste your time wishing life was better. Make life better.


Carlos Antonio Piñón

Carlos Antonio Piñón is an artist and writer examining how people interact with words and language. His main interests include nonfiction essays, artists' books, and databending sonification. Carlos holds an BFA with an Emphasis in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is currently pursuing an MFA in Nonfiction Writing at Columbia College Chicago.