Write about the personality of an inanimate object.
The lamp sat in the corner of the apartment's tiny living room, where it always had. The lampshade used to be turquoise, but was now more of a faded blue. Its stand was bronze-coloured but dulled by the trickling years. Nobody knew how long the lamp had been in the apartment. Countless tenants had come and gone, and still the lamp remained. It didn't mind. The lamp knew how awkward it was to carry, how cheap it looked. It knew the tenants always talked about replacing it, about getting one in a nicer colour or with a brighter bulb. But they never got around to it. The lamp sat in darkness, waiting.
The door swung open and a smiling couple walked in, hand in hand. A girl trailed behind them, taking in the walls and floors with wide eyes. They were drowning in boxes and noise and business. The lamp liked them immediately. It sat there patiently waiting, and the family moved into the apartment. They made changes, of course. Everyone always did. They'd brought their old television and set it up on the wall in the lamp's living room, where a picture used to hang. They swept the floors and talked about paint colours. One day, the wife came and took the lamp from its corner and dragged it into the light.
"How old do you think this thing is?" she asked.
"About a hundred years, probably," said her husband from the kitchen. The wife switched on the lamp and examined the feeble ring of light it cast.
"Still works," she said with no small amount of wonder. The ring of light flickered, no matter how hard the lamp tried to keep it steady. She looked at it critically. "There's no use getting a new one now. Might as well keep this old thing. It could use a new bulb though." She dusted off her hands and walked off in hunt of the lightbulbs.
And so the lamp remained. It stood tall and proud next to the couch. The wife had changed the lightbulb, and now its glow was stronger. The family often piled onto the couch together to watch movies or read books. The little girl was young and would sit snug between her parents, talking happily or dozing off. The lamp kept watch over them all, and when they needed a light it was there.
The apartment was so dark at night. Occasionally, the daughter would have nightmares. She would stumble out of her room and crawl onto the couch with her blanket, turning on the lamp. Sometimes she would turn on the TV to keep her company. Sometimes she would just lay there, curled into a ball. On these nights, the lamp made its glow warm and friendly, and it stayed on all night, long after she fell asleep. It didn't want her to wake up in the dark.
The daughter grew up. They all did. The lamp got new lightbulbs when it needed them, and it even got dusted once in a while. The living room changed around it. They got a new couch, and the lamp was pushed against the wall, near the armchair. It didn't mind because the armchair was the daughter's favorite place to read. Sometimes she would slip out of her room in the dead of night with a book under her arm and curl up on it, reading until her eyes closed and the book slipped out of her hand. The lamp didn't know how they did it, but the parents always knew when she'd fallen asleep reading. Then they padded out of their room and switched off the lamp, draping a blanket over their daughter and smiling blearily at each other before going back to bed.
One day the wife brought home a puppy. It was fluffy and loud and tumbled all over the apartment. The lamp didn't like it very much, but the family did. When they found it chewing on the lamp's electrical cord, they just scooped it up and told it off in baby voices. They didn't bother to check the lamp's cord. Once the puppy ran headfirst into the lamp and sent it crashing to the floor. The daughter righted it and brushed off the lampshade, and the husband was laughing. But the puppy didn't like storms. When heavy clouds rolled across the sky and rain pounded the roof, the booming thunder sent the little dog cowering under the couch. The lamp glowed strong and steady even as the rest of the lights flickered, casting a ring of warm light around the family huddled on the floor.
The daughter was getting older. There was talk of going away to school, and money, and scholarships. The lamp had been moved again. Now it glowed over a coffee table on the other side of the room, where the daughter liked to do her homework. She often stayed up late into the night, hunched over her computer and typing furiously. The lamp tried not to intrude. But when she'd been working for hours, sitting and staring at her screen, it flickered. It tried to tell her to drink water, to eat something, to go for a walk. But all it could do was flicker.
Then there came a day when the boxes were back. The parents were getting older, and had saved up enough to afford a little house out in the country where they'd always wanted to live. They said it would be great for the dog. And the daughter was going to school. A fancy one far away. She promised she'd come visit, but the lamp knew she didn't mean the lamp or the old apartment. Why would she? And so the lamp sat in a corner gathering dust as the family gathered their things in boxes and fussed over the girl. She laughed them off and insisted she'd be fine. The lamp was sure she would. She didn't have nightmares anymore. She no longer sneaked out to read by lamplight. She'd do her homework on a different coffee table, in a different city. And so, the night she was supposed to leave, she was curled by the lamp, reading. Then she did something the lamp didn't expect. She glanced up at it, squinting at it in almost the same way her mother had all those years ago.
"Hey mom?" she called.
"Are you guys taking the lamp with you? To your new house?"
Her mother came around the corner, wrinkling her nose. "Oh, that old thing? No. We were planning on leaving it here."
"Would anyone mind if I took it with me?"
"I don't think so. But why would you want to? I'm sure we can afford to buy you a new lamp."
"No, I like it. It's a nice lamp."