She was dying. The light flickered.
For forty years that lamp had been a beacon in the upstairs window, a sign that would reassure him, if he ever returned home, that she waited for him still.
The people of town had seen the light all those forty years and looked on it with pity, but none of the pity in the world could’ve shaken her.
In that small, sea-bordered town, generations had been brought up while she waited for her beloved to return.
How many children had wondered at the light, queried their mothers, and learned of the eccentric woman in the house atop the hill, no one knew. It seemed to some that her light would be illuminated until Kingdom Come, it had become such an elemental staple in their lives. For decades, long after every light in town had been dimmed, that golden beam had stood strong.
That was the funny thing about love. She had never been able to make up her mind about anything, not once in her life. What she wanted to wear, what she wanted to eat; a perpetual jumble of indecision. It followed, naturally, that her luck in love should answer to that characteristic uncertainty. She knew she would waver, miss her chance, and live to be an old maid.
But it didn’t happen. Love didn’t follow the laws of nature, it blazed paths through the wilderness, wandered where it would, it grew roses where there had been only thistles.
Where indecision had stood on its guard, love had crept up unnoticed, undetected. It had swept her reserve and doubt away as if they had never been, filled their place with the most razor-sharp certainty which left no room for questioning.
Everyone marveled that such a will-of-the-wisp could’ve held so strongly to a promise for forty long years. Especially when it was all but certain he’d been lost at sea not a month after they parted.
But for her, time had ceased to pass on from the day he last held her hand in his. Under the gray shining hair, matronly gown, and the eyes, with circles that hadn’t even been hinted at forty years earlier, she was yet the same. She could still feel the warmth of the sun on her golden head when she’d walked June meadows with him. The smell of the violets he had tucked into her hair was still so fresh in her memory.
It wasn’t strange at all to her that she still lit the light for him, though in her heart of hearts she had accepted it years ago that he was never coming back to her. It was strange to her that anyone should expect her to do anything else. She had promised her devotion, and for the only time in her life, she had understood what that meant. She felt that he was gone, she had resigned herself to it. But love didn’t follow after separation, death had no power to darken it. It had only served to strengthen her devotion to him.
She inhaled a shaky breath and watched the light dim a touch, then return to its usual brightness.
She fingered the gold locket he had given her the night before their final goodbye and felt her time on Earth coming to its conclusion. She saw her life in a long line of memories. She saw his face more clearly than she had in years, and as she breathed her last, the light in the window flickered and went out.
Yet if anyone had been watching the window, they would’ve seen that just after it died, it burst forth with the brightest show of illumination the lamp had ever cast in all its forty years.
Sorry. It’s raining and I’m not in a ‘present moment’ mood. Hope you all have a pleasant weekend!