I don’t turn the light on in the bathroom anymore. It’s a General Electric White, 40 watts. They come in packages of two, or four. I don’t remember when I put that one in. But I must have been the one to put it there, because I remember removing its fixture on the ceiling and losing one of the screws. 

The socket is rated for 100 watts, but 40 must have been all I had at the time. With the cover off, the light is pale and dull, and a little cold, like a desk lamp in an office. The light is cold even if the bulb isn’t. The fixture is low enough that I can stand under it and feel the heat radiating beneath. 

But with the cream-colored fixture back in place, it’s more than that. It changes the character of the light it casts, to an ambient hazy light, almost directionless, permeating the air, reaching all the way to the bedroom carpet and reflecting — but not harshly, never harshly — off the bathroom tile. There is an ethereal quality that it lends to a person, standing in front of the mirror there, a translucency of the skin that makes them seem to glow, like a closeup of a 1960s starlet shot through a gauzy filter. Like a scene from an old movie. I remember it vividly because that’s how she looked, with that light folded around her. When she was here.

I am considering a GE Reveal 100-watt or a low-power halogen 12-volt.

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