The Lighthouse

Write On Edge: Writing Prompt: 2014, Week 4***

“Why is summer mist romantic and autumn mist just sad?”

― Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle

This week’s prompt reminded me of an earlier prompt from this summer. While this story is a continuation of  The Jacket and The Button, it is a stand alone story also.

 The Lighthouse

I pull on the jacket, holding it tightly across my heart with my left hand. In my right hand is the button. The sea just delivered it to me like Aphrodite.

“Hey look,  I bet you get a great view of the sunset from there,” Susan gently bumps my arm.  “What?” I raise my tired eyes to look where her finger is pointing. Several people are grouped outside the door of a lighthouse.

I close my fist tight around the button. I almost feel the embossed anchor etching into my skin. It matches the other buttons on mom’s old jacket perfectly. I shiver.

Susan comes trotting back. “They have sunset tours,” she informs me,”We’ll come back tonight.” I groan internally. I just want to get back to the inn, shower and relax in one of those rocking chairs I spied on the porch. “And we’ll bring mom. It’ll be fun.” 

It’s been a long time since I last came to this lighthouse. It had not been fun. Mom hated the beach and the heat. I just wanted to hang out at the beach. Not with Susan. She had us on a regimented schedule: waking us early each morning for breakfast at the inn, then sightseeing, lunch, shopping and dinner.

Mom stops and huffs. “How many more of these do I have to climb?” With an aggravated flourish she wipes her broad sweaty forehead on her arm.  I stop behind her. “It’s only about 100 more steps,” Susan chirps from above, “We’re almost there!” Hidden behind my mother, I roll my eyes.

I drop the reclaimed button in the jacket’s pocket. As I walk along the path back to the inn, the mist grows denser and fog falls like a dog coming to lie at my feet. It’s a lonely way.  I shiver in the cool mist.

Mom is putting something on a hanger. It’s a course-weave fabric jacket with a lighthouse pattern and five shiny metal buttons embossed with anchors. “Where did you get that hideous thing?” Susan asks as she begins to take off her shoes. “It’s not that bad,” mom shrugs, “I thought it fit the occasion.” 

My lips tremble. That was mom. She’d wear a lighthouse jacket to visit a lighthouse, orange on Halloween, green on St. Patty’s day. It didn’t matter we weren’t Irish. I silently nod my head and smile as I move through the mist.

“If I die here on these steps,” mom puffs, “Do NOT bury me in this jacket!” I move to help mom up the steps. “Don’t push me,” she barks. “I..” the words tangle up in indignation. “Whose idea was this?” I look up the narrow spiral staircase. Susan is no longer in view, having already climbed up to the lantern room.

Along the shore, the mist refracts the beam of light from the lighthouse. Its bluish tint frames the void and reflects the light in the suspended water droplets. 

***Write On Edge, is a weekly creative writing prompt where you use up to 500 words to creatively write a bit of fiction from different prompts.

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12 thoughts on “The Lighthouse

  1. Pingback: The Button | Mom the Obscure

  2. I loved the dialogues-so real! “The sea just delivered it to me like Aphrodite” beautifully expressed !.A painful journey for the protagonist-I assume he lost his mom on that climb last time and Susan is his wife-who is not only overbearing-always on the go but inconsiderate and insensitive too?”She had us on a regimented schedule: waking us early each morning for breakfast at the inn, then sightseeing, lunch, shopping and dinner..”
    Great piece:-)

    • Thank you for reading. And for your comment, dialogue is something I struggle with! Actually, Susan and the protagonist are sisters . I think some of it may have been confused when I cut it down to 500 words for the prompt. Her big sister is overbearing and insensitive go-getter, who somehow gets everyone to do what she thinks is right.

  3. I got a little confused as to whether we were going forward and backward in time. Watch your tenses and that should clear it up. I like the defined attributes of each character – it really brings them to life. The overbearing older sister, the concerned younger one, the mom and her themed outfits.

    • Thanks for the concrit. appreciate it. I got a little confused too, because she is remembering in present time. I had worded it differently, but had to cut to get down to 500 words. I’ll check the tenses.

  4. I had some trouble following the timeline, too, but I really think you did a great job with the dialogue. I also like the way you brought their vacationing style into it: the reluctant mom, the older planner, the younger sister who just wanted to relax.

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