Tax, Silence, Sailor

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

She could hear only the wind and the waves. Standing at the lighthouse, she looked out as the light behind her flashed a silhouette of her figure to all watching sailors. Tonight there was no storm.

When she closed the glass door of the lighthouse, for a moment, there was only silence. Silence and the spinning light.

For months she watched and waited. The rocky dirt all around the small island undisturbed but for a patch about six feet long and three feet wide. She missed her husband but not his drunken behavior. Perhaps a sailor would come ashore and give her the attention she required, though she wasn’t eager to pay the heavy tax of a relationship. A tryst was all she longed for.

Sun or moon. Fog or rain. She kept the light shining. The work, however taxing, still left plenty of time for her mind to be pulled to her husband. A strange mix of righteous indignation and guilt. The men of the sea seemed never to suspect that a woman could be anything but warm respite from waves, rain, splinters and scurvy. She would do better with the next man, guilt has a queer way of turning one into a saint.

As the sun dipped into the ocean, she noticed the lights of a ship approaching from the dark side of the sky. Ahead, in a dingy, rowed a sailor approaching her rocky haven. She clutched her knitting needle and thought, I will no longer accept a drunk fist but I’ll welcome a gentle caress.

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