Drama Fiction Kids

I was in the top of the building, right next to the light. The flickering reminds me of the beam on the Eiffel Tower. I see it whenever I visit my mother in Paris. Her apartment overlooks the tour Eiffel. I am always drawn to guiding lights. Maybe it’s because my existence has been so directionless. I’ve been shuffled from home to home. My parents are adventurers, but they prefer to adventure separately, independently. The adventure of their marriage was short-lived, but filled with excitement from what I can remember of it. They were always chasing a new dream; taking whatever opportunity was offered to them, however impulsive. 

My mother lives in a simple studio. Whenever I close to her, I’m very close and whenever she sends me away, I get the sense I’m no longer even alive in her memory. I move back and forth between parents, like a ship constantly at sea. I rarely get to dock and I often feel marooned, like I do tonight. 

My dad is always busy. He is the lighthouse keeper. It’s a solitary post and one with responsibilities he treats with real gravity. It demands his attention, so he has little left for me. The pay-off is that I get the room at the top of the house. He says I’m lucky; that it’s the perfect reading nook for a bookworm like me. The silence often suffocates me. It’s both ideal for one’s concentration and terrible for one’s sanity. 

We are located in a remote region of the Scottish islands. The coast is rugged and the weather is equally rough. On nights like this. It feels like we are being buffeted about, like the tower offers us no stability, and I can’t approach my dad for reassurance. Even whenever I’m afraid, I can’t turn to my dad because I don’t truly know him. I hear the wind whipping our home and I try to tell myself that we will be ok. 

The lighthouse has been there since the dawn of time, as far as my short life span is concerned. It was made to survive all weathers. But a voice inside me asks, “what if we don’t? What if this is its last storm? What if we are the ones that don’t make it out alive?” I shudder at the thought of it, burrowing deeper into my bed, covering my head with the quilt. The windows rattle with the gusts of wind and the hail hits them like a barrage of bullets. It threatens to break and to sweep me off into the night. I imagine myself travelling in the wind like a kite in flight. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Maybe I would feel freer, more powerful, with some purpose of my own. Other than getting in others’ way, I’m not sure what mine is. I’m a small person, but I don’t think I’m meant to feel quite this small. 

Whenever I watch my father’s quiet dedication to his home, I know how important it is. He does the same duties, day in, day out, however he’s feeling. My mother and he aren’t on speaking terms, other than arranging how they’re going to shunt me back and forth between them. I wonder if the wind fazes him, or if he’s used to it by now. I’ll never know because he is the strong silent type. He tells me nothing. We eat a simple meal together at set times throughout the day, but he reads up on the weather and we rarely exchange a word. The clinking of cutlery is the only background noise to our meal. He prepares it for us. I suppose for that I should feel grateful, and he lets me read all the books on the shelves in the attic room. Most of them are about nautical subjects and technical reads on how to maintain a lighthouse. But sometimes there are treasures there too: adventure stories like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. They read like bedtime stories rather than guidebooks but the rustling of the pages is nothing compared to the strength of this storm. 

The wind wails like a suffering ghost. It feels like we are alone in the middle of a hurricane, and I don’t know what to do. The lighthouse is a beacon of hope for many a seafarer, but to me, it is a place to fear. I try to lose myself in the pages of my books; my only companions on this cold night, but the wind is stronger than my reader’s voice. I promise myself if we make it through this night unscathed, I will forever be grateful. When I get back to the city of lights and away from this home of light that I cannot see, I will appreciate it all the more. I will find friends in every stranger I meet. The heavy footfall will in itself reassure me. There will be other souls roaming around me, even if we never get to speak. We could, and that is something. It is nothing compared to this isolation, this awful solitude. The wild sea sings shanties that echo my own feelings, but it is a raging being. It will never bring me real comfort. 

My father thinks he’s doing worthy work, and maybe he is but I wonder when he will get the recognition for it. It’s a life for a bachelor, but not for a family man. Maybe the truth is that my father has always been the former, thrust into this role of fatherhood that he never knew how to fulfil. I wonder when will he be expelled from the lighthouse, or willingly move on to the next opportunity, as he has done as long as I’ve known him. He will stop being the lighthouse keeper one day and become something else, and then something else, ad finetum. But I will always be this lonely child in a lighthouse rooftop, cowering at the call of the wind. 

March 01, 2024 20:00

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Alexis Araneta
16:26 Mar 14, 2024

Kenny, how lovely this was! You perfectly described not only the storm but also the loneliness your protagonist feels. Great use of imagery. Excellent first entry to Reedsy. Well done !


Kenny Keaney
10:31 Mar 15, 2024

Thank you 😊


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