The Lighthouse: Alone
Years. Years had passed and now I know not which day it is. These days have passed without my notice, my book far past written. Yet so isolated, no one remains to read it. The days are long and solitary. What can I say but that I cherish the solitude? Sluggish but sure as the snail's pace, the stitches and seams of my mind frayed and unraveled. With the wind that shapes the sea, my sanity deserted me. At last alone. Truly and bleakly alone. What can be said but that I received what I had hoped for? Solitude. Yet with the loss of my common sense and stability of mind, I earned a new level of clarity. I knew exactly what was happening to me, and yet I could do nothing about it. For what is a mute man to do in the clutches of cardiac arrest?
I ramble in mumbles and wander throughout the lighthouse day and night. Fumbling for things that are not there. Waiting for people who will never come. Solitude was what I had wanted. But how does the lone wolf know it is alone if it has no time of company to compare it to? The flames of the beacon have snagged my hair many times to the point at which it has simply become a burden and a hassle. The once white walls of the circular rooms in the lighthouse have become smudged and damaged. In the section of the lighthouse that serves as my room, there are portraits all around the cylindrical wall.
Each hangs roughly ten inches from its companions on either side. All of them are framed differently. A few have ornate golden frames, many have handcrafted wooden frames, and others are plainly framed in black. The portraits all contain a previous lighthouse caretaker. Their faces are expressionless and their stares are blank. Those blank eyes follow me as I enter the room and as I exit using the same wretched ladder crafted by a previous caretaker. All the levels had a rickety old wooden ladder as its entrance and exit. Now back to the portraits. There are ten in all. Each is one and a half feet in width and about two feet in height. Not only do the eyes of the people within the pictures watch me, but also at night they whisper at me.
"He is so dreadfully alone."
"What an outcast."
"A book on his desk with nobody to read it. Pity."
"Why pity him? He earned himself this."
"I wonder how long he might last before he becomes just another portrait on the wall."
They keep me awake at night. Murmuring in my mind. If a third party were to read this journal, they would determine I was schizophrenic. Or that my mind had been afflicted with dementia. These things cannot be true. I am absolutely stable. I do not even recall the reason I claimed I had gone insane. This cannot be possible. I am of the utmost mental health, despite the opinions of the portraits. I was not insane.
It was the middle of the night. With blind steps, I descended every latter until I had reached the bottom floor. My fingers cold and clumsy, I searched for the door that led to the bathroom. When they grasped a doorknob, I simply turned it and stepped through the door. Yet instead of the bathroom related objects I expected to greet me, I was met with a cold gale. It threw itself against the lighthouse and my body. This was not the room I had been searching for of course, but I decided to visit my favorite place on the small island that acted as a platform for the lighthouse. This place was a cliff face that jaggedly rose from the sea an astonishing five hundred feet. From it, you could see a peninsula that was about two miles off. That was the place I had called home before I had become the lighthouse caretaker. The people that inhabited the peninsula were already in their homes and asleep. Why had I been exiled to this island? I could no longer even remember the reason for why I was here. Why was I denied the right to have a normal life? Friends? A family?
Oh yes. My desire to be alone. My obsession with solitude. My need for seclusion. These compulsions had led to my quarantine.
All of the sudden, the water at the foot of the cliff seemed awfully welcoming. How easy it would be to fall. To throw myself. Then I would meet with that water and end my suffering. My foot crept forth. The last sane part of my mind interrogated me but I answered swiftly and surely. Even out loud.
"Who would miss me?"
"Not a soul."
"What would I leave behind?"
"Nothing but my sorrows."
"Where would I go?"
"Heaven or Hell…it doesn't matter. Anything is better than this torture." With that my mind had no further questions. I had decided. Nothing would change what I felt. This overwhelming sense of being alone. Wasn't solitude what I had wanted from the beginning? Wasn't it what I had wanted all along? Perhaps at the beginning and perhaps all along. But no longer. I had had it with the whispers of the portraits, the disregard of the peninsula's inhabitants, the solitude. I was done. No one would ever read my book. But that didn't matter to me any more. I had to do it now or I never would. My feet shifted until my heels touched the edge of the cliff. My eyes shut and with my final breath, I fell backward. Plummeting down.
I was not the phoenix; I would not rise from the ashes. I was not a saint; I would not place my soul in God's hands. I was simply a man who had felt what it was like to be truly and bleakly alone.