By Dawn M. Sanders

Lighthouse in California

Have you ever tried sitting at the water’s edge on any given shoreline – watching ships of opportunity, your dreams and aspirations sail by?

I don’t have to try, it’s my life design.  I’ve been in the lighthouse from a young, young age – watching life from a distance – with the occasional visitor.

Watching how people mingle, faff, fritter and frolic with their friends.

I’m just off the shoreline a few miles, so I have enough distance between me and those who are considered ‘social material’; the lucky ones, the loved, the desired and desirable.  The ones who connect with ease – oh, let’s not forget for one second, the all-prevailing eye contact – over-rated as it is…

I watched from my vantage point, with my insight and powers of observation, those crowds gathered on the shoreline: at high school, sitting alone in the bleachers at football games, while they all were everywhere around me, with their friends, their boyfriends or girlfriends.

At lunch time, the pep squad girls would chant their cheers and pep songs – in heightened American raw raw enthusiasm.

I stood alone, at my vantage point, an outsider, with my nose pressed to the glass of the social periphery.

In pubs now, in cafes, they all eat together – it’s like high school again.

They all float in on banana or row boats – chatting and chuckling to their friends, family, kids or lovers.

Oh of course, you have the ones who come in alone, like me – the single-sailing boats, who are content to sit with their coffee or beer and read a newspaper.

You somehow get that, their okay; they have a wife, partner or girlfriend at home.

As the ocean stretches before me, I’ve grown older.

Ships of opportunity have sailed past, all lit up, like party barges, with their coloured lights glimmering and shining – lighting up the night sky.

My dreams are hatched, I nurture them and grow them with care, but as soon as they form – they die; like aborted foetuses, whimpering in the wind, still crying out, still desperate to survive and cling onto life, desperate!

Then, then the dying dreams are ships – sailing into the night, fading, with green glowing lights trailing behind them; leaving a trail of glowing green dusk into the inky black darkness, that is the night sky and open sea.

I’m left alone, with no light and only the shelter of the lighthouse, surrounded by open sea.

The ships have all drifted past: one by one, with waving arms and smug grinning faces: “I’m really, really sorry but…”

“Try ‘that one, over there’ other side of the bay.” Says a business-like voice.

Or, was it the robotically trained, disengaged voice on the phone, from the inside of a sterile, stiflingly stuffy call centre?

Whatever, whoever it was – it was, it’s gone, they’re gone – along with the barge they sail upon and my broken, dying dream left in its wake.

The dreams are fewer and further between.  I have little left to nurture them with.

My fertility is running dry, I’ve been starved ‘for so long’.

Before I was put out to sea, I walked a long, long dry desert.  It was a desert which offered few oases, yet the desolate landscape is all around – stretching further than my impaired eyes will ever see.

As I drift on this ocean, on the island that serves as my lighthouse, with its confining walls and rounded windows to view every ship sailing by: my spirit dies; with every dream, with every aspiration drowned or choked away, my spirit dies a little more.

So someday, it will fall to sleep, long, uninterrupted, unpenetrated or tormented sleep.

And I can only dream of the day, where the dawn is on the horizon and my small, damaged spirit, can vacate the island and I can finally drift  ashore, land, bury myself in soft sand and, not have to observe from afar anymore.


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