OKAY, THANKS

By John Thomas Tuft

The stiff breeze off the sea ruffled his hair as he approached the outcropping of rock and restless sands. Sticking far out into the entrance to the sound, it was the perfect spot for a light house. Whitewashed walls reaching toward the sky, heavy wooden beams framing the doorway at the bottom, small windows set in a gentle reach toward the glass enclosure sitting atop the weather-beaten warrior. He paused at the flag stone walkway, wondering again at what revelation he sought.

“May it be,” he whispered to the wind as he approached the door and entered the dank tower. The narrow staircase hugged the walls, spiraling upward. He started up the stairs, joining them in hugging the wall, his own fear of heights notwithstanding. At the top he pushed on the heavy trapdoor, grimacing at the screech of rusty hinges. As he steps onto the grated flooring, he’s startled by a wisp of movement on the far side of the ponderous lens, encased in polished brass. He takes a step around the outer edge and a woman in a flowing gown turns at the sound. “Oh, it’s you!” she cries with delight. “I’ve been waiting.”

“For me? I don’t know you,” he protests. She holds out an elegant hand. “Come, see with me.” He circles the lens, stands beside her, looking out to sea. The only sound for a minute is the wind playing scales in the eaves. “Do you see God?” she asks quietly but confidently. “I’ve spent my whole life here, waiting to see.” He squints at the horizon. “I see water. I see sky. I see waves. I see a whale spout in the distance. I see birds. I see clouds. I see sun. I see sand. I see seashells by the sea shore,” he concludes with a giggle. She smiles. “Tell me more. The colors…what are the colors? What does the water’s dance look like? Where it touches the sky? The birds. Tell me about the birds. Do they look like they sound? Does sand look cold or warm? Are there flowers? Do they dance, also? With the wind? The water? The birds? Is this the place where music begins? I know you are the one to tell me. Show me as only you can.”

“Okay…thanks. I think. I came up here to pray.” He shifted his weight a bit. “Please, tell me,” she says earnestly. “I must know.” He turns, looks into her eyes. And realizes. For some odd reason he looks away. Aware now. She senses his dis-ease. “I’ve always been this way,” she murmurs quietly but confidently. He searches the horizon once more. “You’ve never seen light?” She rests one hand on his arm. “Tell me what light looks like. Then you can pray.”

He blinks. Then blinks again. “Please.” Her voice is urgent. He covers her hand with his and says, quietly but confidently, “Tell me, what does your imagination look like?” She smiles and squeezes his hand. His heart does a little jump. “Yeah, I get the picture,” he smiles. And so they passed the afternoon…giving thanks. “Water!” she would say. He would start to hum, softly at first, then louder, deeper. “Waves!” she cried. He opened his mouth, singing “ahhh….ohhh….” up and down the scales, bursting on the shore with an explosive breath and spreading his arms wide. “The sky,” she encouraged him. He reached down deep into his chest. “Ah..ah..ah! ooOOOoo….ooOO…faaa…leee…doo…reee..mummm” and he began to sway side to side, then put his arms at her waist. And they danced. Oh, how they danced.

“We’re birds!” he exclaimed. “And the flowers?” she asked. “Yes,” he said as he stroked her cheek. “That is a flower dancing with the wind.” And they sang. Oh, how they sang. And as they danced and sang the sun dipped lower in the sky, making its bed in the sea. The fussy clouds helped spread the colorful blankets as the ball of fire yielded another day. They stopped, and he put his arm around her, watching the spectacle. “Sunset,” he whispered. He tightened his arm at her waist, stroked her hair. Hummed a lullaby. “That is sunset.” And the sun disappeared.

Suddenly the air was filled with frightening light. It blinded him. He squeezed his eyes tight, but still it hurt. She stayed calm, quiet. He put his hands to his eyes, his heart filled with disorienting noise. Then he felt her gently lift his hands away and felt her lips caress his lashes. “Stars,” she whispered. “Stars.”

Let us pray…

Words are magic, and writers are wizards.