Point of Collapse

Lighthouse

We had captured the sky, for a moment, held it in our hands like fragile lace and let the fleeting weightlessness of evaporation overcome us. Ghosts passed through us, trying to take our hands and lead us away, but our existence was transient, shifting constantly between unconscious reality and dreams of dying light. We had circled the day and whispered poems into the air, some were caught in the ears of those who thought to listen, some were lost to the drone of trivial things. It was beautiful, but there was a darkness on the horizon that wasn’t the setting sun, or the creeping touch of death. The sad inevitability of linear constraints, time’s affirmation that we had been no more than guests.

The sky fell through our fingers, cobalt blue pigment spiralling an ethereal dance in the wind until it faded into a distant patchwork quilt of grey. Storm clouds gathered on the horizon, the calm blue ocean turned to ink and waves crashed onto the sand. Our bare feet on the rocks, we climbed further from the horizon to green cliff tops; when we reached the lighthouse stairs the rain began to pour and the sun became little more than a memory.

The light blinked its warning to distant ships, battling and sinking, the crews beaten with water and howling wind. The giant candle’s calm lullaby slowly turning in the night sky, a beacon of hope or a symbol of distance. The storm battered the lighthouse, ocean spray turned the air to salt and stung our skin. We tried the door but it was locked, we knocked but no one answered, we broke the lock and stood in the kitchen, clothes dripping puddles on the floor and nobody came.

We lit the fire, stoked the coals and boiled the water. We sat wrapped in blankets, drinking coffee laced with whiskey, our clothes hanging from chairs, steam rising from sodden pockets. Flames flickered, hypnotic vermillion shards floating up the flue and out into the storm laden night. Hailstones found their way in and the fire acted as our shield against the pellets of ice, which hissed in defeat on the coals. It felt as though we were waiting, but there was nothing left to wait for, it was just time counting down.

I heard the waves crashing against the cliff, I could see the rock face beginning to disintegrate every time I closed my eyes. The tide would eventually sweep us away, bricks, mortar, coffee cups and flesh, colliding in the maelstrom as it pulls us under water. In the calm beneath, air bubbles rise, tiny glistening pockets of our fading life and we will sink into the murky depths, far from the sky. Our eyes remain open as we fall, still searching for the blue horizon. The weight of the ocean will press on our chests until we reach the bottom and its dwellers claim us.

We blew the steam from our coffee, thunder cracked and the rain poured on the foreknowledge of our waking dream of dying light. At the point of collapse, when the ghosts take us by our hands into the cold eternal night.

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