the lighthouse

Short Stories / Sunday, April 8th, 2018

Since she could think, the lighthouse tower had always been there, and before that, too, printed in shapes and colours into the windings of her mind. It sat there on the rocky tongue of earth that slipped out into the ocean just to the right of the small harbour, where boats anchored, never more than three or four at a time. She’d always lived on that island, on the small house up and away from the main shore, the long pathway leading to their front terrace almost hidden by big oak trees. But from her bedroom window, lying on her bed, the rectangular shadows of her blinds wandering slowly over her face as the clock ticked on, she could see the lighthouse. When she couldn’t sleep, she imagined how it had been built, the many men who must have been occupied with the task for years. Sometimes she’d ever so slowly push the blanket away from her body, trying not to make a sound so that her parents wouldn’t know that she’s up again, and crawl down to the end of her bed to follow the turning light; how it dipped into the ocean and then vanished and dipped into the ocean again, a never-ending play of hide and seek. Her father sometimes found her in the morning, arms propped up on the windowsill, her head uncomfortably resting on them, fast asleep.

She couldn’t remember when exactly she found out that there was a purpose to it, that the light and the ocean and the waves weren’t just miscellaneous unknowns in a formula of beauty but that each of them served a purpose. That the light she was so fascinated with served as a compass to sailors, to people who were lost at sea, just like, centuries ago, the stars used to serve the captains who waded off into the great unknown to discover new worlds.

‘I’ll never be lost, then,’ she thought.

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