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Friday, 7 March 2014

Lydia of the Lighthouse

Negril Lighthouse

"It was the best of times; it was the worst of times," Mike Walters recited his favourite quote, as he looked out the lighthouse window. A storm was brewing, and the sky had suddenly become darker. He could hear the wind whistling its haunting tune.

"True words spoken, my friend," remarked Gary Morris. "I hope the weather changes soon. The fishermen have a good season so far, and it would be a disaster if the storm ruins it for them. Besides, most of them owe me money for the supplies they took on credit at the store. Let's hope for the best." The two men spoke for a few more minutes before Gary took his leave.

Mike made himself a pot of coffee, realising it was going to be a long sleepless night, as the storm increased in size. A few of the trawlers had not returned to the dock. The sea was rough and the waves beat angrily against the rocks. His thoughts ran on Lydia and he smiled, knowing he would see her soon.

It was early in the evening but the storm was thick, making it difficult to see anything on the horizon. The lighthouse was brightly lit, and Mike prayed anyone unlucky to be out in this weather would be safely guided by its beckoning light that shone from the tower.

As he looked through the telescope, Mike heard a familiar wail and turned to where the sound came from. A woman was running up the rocky path towards the lighthouse. Lydia had finally made it. Mike put on his jacket and quickly made his way down the spiral stairs to meet her.

"Mike!" Lydia called out, reaching out to him with outstretched hands. She wore a long white dress which swayed against her slender body in the strong wind. A beam of light shone on her pale face, and Mike saw how frightened she looked. Lydia was terrified of the loud thunder and lightning flashes.

"Don't be scared darling, I'm here," he gently replied. Mike touched her hand feeling its coldness, and led Lydia back to the warm lighthouse. She always felt safer there with him. They went into the tower and Mike placed Lydia in a chair near the heater.

"I love you so much," he said trailing his hand along her face. They were married fifteen years. Mike closed his eyes, remembering their wedding day which was embedded in his memory forever.

Lydia of the Lighthouse

It was a sunny day and Mike heard the seagulls calling out to each other. He had returned to the lighthouse to speak to Gary, who would manage things while he and Lydia went on their honeymoon. They were married a short while ago. Mike was happy knowing he had finally married the woman he loved. His bride was waiting for him at the church hall, where they would leave to go on the cruise he had promised her.

It suddenly became unusually windy, and the sky darkened blocking out the sun. A loud thundering rumble was heard and a heavy downpour of rain came. A freak storm had hit the small fishing town of Baleen Shore.

Mike and Gary were shocked by this unexpected change in weather, but quickly got into action; sounding the bellowing horn and switching on the floodlights. There were never any signs that this storm would develop, although it was not uncommon for one to occur without warning.

"Unbelievable!" Gary uttered. Mike swore, stunned by this turn of events that now ruined the start of his new life. It rained heavily, and Mike had no choice but to remain in the building and hoped the storm would quickly pass. The telephone line seemed to be damaged by the storm, and the radio was not picking up any frequencies. This made his mood more sullen.

"What's that?" Gary asked, pointing at something he saw. Mike looked closely and picked out the shape of someone running up the pathway. It was Lydia!

"What the hell is she doing out here!" Mike exclaimed and ran out the building.

"Mike!" Lydia called out to him with outstretched hands. She wore a long white dress which swayed against her slender body in the strong wind. A beam of light shone on her pale face, and Mike saw how frightened she looked. Lydia was terrified of the loud thunder and lightening flashes.

"Lydia, you shouldn't have come!" he shouted against the howling wind, running as fast as he could down the path. The water rose higher, pelting the rocks.

"I was worried and wanted to be with you, and the telephone isn't working," she replied. The grass was slippery and Lydia fell, rolling towards the edge of the cliff. She screamed, landing on a lower ridge of the steep cliff. Mike finally got to Lydia.

"It's going to be alright. Don't panic my love," Mike reassured her, but felt scared himself.

"I love you, Mike," she said in a trembling voice as he grabbed her hands, trying to pull her to safety. But the wind was strong, and the rain pelted down his face. A huge wave rose up and covered Lydia, which released his grip on her. Gary had followed Mike when he saw what had happened, but was too late to offer any assistance.

Mike screamed his wife's name, and it took all of Gary's strength to keep Mike from jumping into the raging sea below. They held onto each other, raindrops and tears mixed together as they made their way back to the lighthouse.

"That cursed storm changed my life forever,"
Mike said out loud, realising that he had been lost in thoughts again.

"What do you mean?" Lydia asked, putting a cold hand on Mike's shoulder when she stood up.

"I meant the storm just changes my plans, and now I'll have to stay indoors for awhile," he lied.

Mike closed his eyes, fighting back the tears. Lydia had been dead fifteen years now, and she still did not know. He just could not bring himself to tell her the truth after all this time. Whenever it rained or there was bad weather, she always appeared in her wedding gown, running up the pathway calling his name. Lydia always assumed she had left the church hall to be with him in the bad weather, believing they would go on their honeymoon after it cleared.

Some sailors around Baleen Shore often claimed they saw a figure in white on stormy nights at the lighthouse. The older folks who knew the tragic story called her Lydia of the Lighthouse. Mike had refused to leave this place after his bride died, preferring to remain to protect her from the storms. He blamed himself for Lydia's death and became a recluse, avoiding contact with most people in the town. As long as he had Lydia, he would never be lonely.

Maybe someday she will learn the truth, but not today, he told himself. She will always be his Lydia of the Lighthouse.

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