Summary: A take on what have happened if Susie's family never strengthened, but rather fell apart. From Lindsey's POV.
Lighthouse of My Soul.
I was thirteen when my sister died; her name was Susan. We called her Susie.
They say those are the things that change a person's life, a sibling dying. Or, as it was in my case, a sibling disappearing. Getting murdered. And so I figured I would begin with that, letting you all know immediately where all sorts of psychological traumas stem from. Of course, "psychological traumas" were not what I thought of when all of it happened; mostly I remember how I had always envied those small, slender hands of hers, which seemed so petty afterwards. I would much rather have let her keep them. I was thirteen when she died. Susie, Susan, Salmon, was fourteen.
I live by the sea now. The Sea. How did I ever life or even survive without it? I live in the lighthouse at the very tip of the island and it is white and tall and beautiful. And when I stand at the balcony at the very top of the world, as it seems, that is when I know I am alive I didn't die with you and I can breathe again. Deep, salty sea-air fills my lungs and I am alive. Not lost or frozen or buried in cold, dark mud or gone, I am alive and without you in this world you left too soon.
I have travelled a very long way to be here. Through grief and hurt and guilt and some brilliant happiness, and some love too. My dad and brother say they saw her after her death. Saw her shadow, perhaps the memory of her, saw her tears and heard her laughter. Me, I took to sleeping in her room but never saw anything at all. I did push-ups in what became a museum of her life until I cried from hurt trying to hurt like she must have hurt and still I never saw here. Never heard a whisper. Never felt the touch of her slender hands. Her room looked like she had never left, but of course she never came back.
My mom was the first to leave, and when I turned eighteen I left as well, to live here in my lighthouse. I believe in love, there is a photo of Susie on my wall, and still I keep a photo she took. It is absolutely awful, but what do you do? Parents never part with their treasures and Susie will never take another photograph again. I take long runs and then come here to my lighthouse, to breathe, by the sea where there are no neighbours. A ghost from my past, I presume. Lingering psychological trauma, if you will. You cannot know anyone. It shall never truly leave, I will always love you, sister dearest, and I know it very, very well. Too well, I suppose.
The lighthouse of mine is one hundred and five years old and shines like the beacon of hope that it is in my heart. I imagine I ought to thank God for finding it, but I really thank Susie. I have never seen her here, like I never saw her anywhere else after she was fourteen and died, nor do I ever feel her. Not like the others did. We loved her dearly and I love her still, but I keep to my very own lighthouse now and when I stand on the top of the balcony I feel like I can breathe again in a way I never could before I found my very own, personal beacon of hope.