This week’s story is based on the following lyrics from Kiss From a Rose by Seal:
“There used to be a greying tower alone on the sea. You became the light on the dark side of me.”
“Why do you always look so sad when you look out at the ocean?”
“I’m not sad.”
She smiled kindly and put a hand on his shoulder. “I didn’t say you were sad, darling. But, you do look sad when you stare into the distance like you were just doing.”
The corner of his mouth twitched. He knew what she was talking about but it was going to be hard to put it into words. He knew, too, that she wouldn’t rush him. She was patient like that. It was part of why he loved her, part of why he was comfortable enough around her to let his emotions walk in the past. His eyes settled on a point just shy of the horizon and his thoughts dipped back into the years between his youth and his adulthood. Magic years. Haunting years.
“Have I ever told you the story of the lighthouse?”
“Is this a literal lighthouse?”
His lips twitched again, more than they had before, and the small smile betrayed his truth. “No, not a literal lighthouse. It’s a story, a parable or some such thing.”
“Then, no, I don’t think you’ve told me this story.”
Silence, as quiet as the beach ever was, settled around them. The waves, gentle long rollers, washed in and dragged out, over and over. A few pelicans gave up fishing for the moment and settled on the surface just beyond the breakers. The breeze that sometimes roared off the water was little more than a whisper.
“Will you tell me?”
He put his hand on hers, still resting on his shoulder, and nodded.
A moment later he began, “The lighthouse stood on an island far out to sea, it was a beacon of both hope and doom. To see its light meant were near land, but that land could be your salvation or your death, right?”
She said, “Yes, that makes sense.”
He continued, “We have many lighthouses in our lives. People. Memories. They stand in the vast ocean of our minds and flash their lights at us. You have to draw near to see the threat, to understand why the lighthouse is there, but if you get too close you will be dashed upon the cliffs, or the reef, or whatever.”
“And you see these, these ‘lighthouses,’ while you are gazing toward the horizon?” She asked.
He squeezed her hand, and answered simply, “Yes.”
“That is sad,” she murmured.
He squeezed her hand again and said, “It’s okay though. You see, I don’t need the lighthouses anymore. You’ve always got my back. You are always helping light my way forward.”