“Oh Lolli,” Carmen said. “This is the best lighthouse we have seen so far.”
“Tell me about it Carmen,” Lolli said. “I want to see it through your incredible eyes.”
“Honey,” Carmen sighed, “I’m really tired. I just want to get to the hotel, unpack and get some sleep.”
Lolli sighed too. “Okay.” She was quiet. They had both had a long day and, yes, it was true, each wanted to get to bed, to sleep, to dream, but each knew Lolli didn’t have much time.
“I’m sorry Lolli,” Carmen said. “What the heck am I thinking. Of course I will tell you.”
“Do you remember the last lighthouse we saw in Scituate?”
“Yes?” Lolli perked up. Carmen was beginning.
“This one is even better.”
“Oh goodie,” Lolli said, excitement brimming over in her voice. “Tell me, tell me.” She was pretending to be a child, waiting expectantly for a treat from her mother, clapping her hands, squirming in the passenger seat of the car.
“The lighthouse, as you would expect, is at the ocean’s edge. But there is another small house or storage unit at the edge, however, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start again. Erase that picture in your mind. I’ll set it up.”
“Okay Carmen. Erased.” Lolli sat back, waiting as though she were seeing a movie in a drive-in theatre. She had seen many movies in her life but now that she had a glioblastoma in her temporal lobe she could no longer see anything. She had had radiation which eliminated the tumor, for awhile, but it also caused permanent blindness. Now Lolli and Carmen were on Lolli’s final bucket list tour. Lolli had always wanted to see New England by car so they were driving the coast and as an added benefit, they decided to look the lighthouses. Lolli had researched and found “10 Must See Lighthouses in New England.” This was the last on one their list.
“The lighthouse is situated on the edge of a cove. In front of us is a u-shaped cove with a sandy beach. The waves are gently lapping against the sand, looks like the lighthouse is on a bay rather than the ocean. There looks like there is an island or land on the other side of the water. I’m gonna look at the map.”
“No Carmen,” Lolli said. “Don’t stop. I can see it, I can see it.”
Carmen continued. “On the far side of the u-shaped cove sits the lighthouse on a high rock. It looks like it’s about thirty or forty feet above the water as there is a two-story house next to the lighthouse that looks to be about thirty feet tall too.” Carmen stopped. She was struck by the beauty. “Can you imagine living in a lighthouse Lolli?” Lolli smiled.
“Every day you get to go to the top of the tower," Carmen continued, "and look out over the ocean and see the ships and the whales and dolphins cresting and the lights from the ships at night. Wouldn’t that be something?”
“Yes, Carmen, it would,” Lolli said, gently, waiting. She wanted to see more.
“As I said, there is a larger house that looks like where the family of the lighthouse keeper lives and then next to it is a smaller building, only one story, and then connected to it is another smaller building, the shortest of the three buildings which is connected to the lighthouse itself. It looks like they built the big house and then added on the two additional buildings to connect to the lighthouse.” Carmen stopped for a minute, catching her thoughts. “I wonder if they built the house and then added the other, smaller buildings as an afterthought.”
“Maybe that’s where they store the supplies for the lighthouse.”
“I can’t tell.”
“Maybe we can visit?”
“We can check it out tomorrow.”
“Oh, goodie,” Lolli said, clapping her hands. It was a new gesture, her clapping, but it was one that made Lolli feel as though she were in the flow, connected to others.
“I bet the lighthouse itself is at least sixty feet tall,” Carmen said, her voice pensive and observing. “And then on the other side of the lighthouse, closest to the ocean, is another building. I don’t know why they would have put that there.”
“We’ll find out tomorrow. Okay Carmen?”
“Of course, honey. Tomorrow.” Carmen looked at Lolli. Carmen took a sudden breath in, stunned. The look on Lolli’s face was magical. Carmen loved her partners warm, brown skin. She loved the feel of her skin in her own dry hands. Her own Irish heritage left her with rough skin, skin tags all over her body, cracks and dry spots, and she was constantly smearing lotions and potions all over herself to smooth out the crevices. But Lolli’s skin was sheer, glistening in the afternoon sun. Carmen could see Lolli “seeing” the things she described to her and the awe it inspired on Lolli’s face. Though they were both older, having been together for 23 years, she never stopped loving this beautiful woman, the one who was the strong one, the brave one, the valiant one. Now Carmen had to take over the reins and with Lolli by her side, she felt more confident than she ever had. She didn’t know why she didn’t do this before, be in the lead in their lives. Lolli reassured her it was okay. “You are doing it now,” Lolli said, bolstering her partner. “You are stepping up when the stepping up is necessary.”
“You ready for more?” Carmen asked.
“Of course lovie.” This was a name Lolli always called Carmen. It used to be reserved for their bedtime lovemaking but now that Lolli was so ill, struggling with the nausea and dizziness, unable to eat and more frequently than not, holding herself still so as not to cause her head to spin, lovemaking was something of a bygone thing.
“Alright then, here’s some more," Carmen said, beginning again. “The houses are painted white, including the lighthouse, as you would expect, but the roofs are a bright red. I think it must be asbestos tile but I can’t tell from here. The house in front of the lighthouse looks to be a red brick. I wonder why they left it that color?” Carmen said, not really knowing. “I bet the lighthouse is about 60 feet tall.”
“Sounds like it is good sized.”
“The base is pretty big. Looks like it may be about thirty feet across. Maybe the lighthouse is 70 or 80 feet. Anyway, we’ll get the exact dimensions tomorrow.”
“What else is there?” Lolli asked.
“The water in the cove is slightly green next to the beach where a small breakwater laps on the shore. There looks to be about a three or four-foot foam and then the green for a few feet and then it morphs into blue. It is God’s painting Lolli.”
“For sure,” Lolli agrees.
“There are several large rocks that jut out of the water and right in front of the lighthouse there is a very large rock, maybe twenty feet tall, right in front of where the lighthouse sits. I’m sure young men try climbing all over that thing.”
“That’s what young men do,” Lolli says, matter of fact. “They test themselves and each other. Only the strong survive,” she says and sings a couple of bars of the tune.
“What do you like the best of this one?” Lolli asks Carmen.
“Huh…what I like best is that I get to see this with you, Lolli.”
“Oh silly…I know that!” Lolli knows this is commonly Carmen’s cue to cry.
“Well then,” Carmen says, pulling herself together. “You ready to go?”
“Oh sure,” Lolli says, easily. “If you are lovie.”
“I am.” Carmen says and then starts singing, “I got you babe..” She starts the car and putting it in reverse, pulls out of the spot where they are parked. Lolli picks up the refrain and the two of them harmonize, singing the remainder of the song.