Sentinel – Henry Zhang
A duty and, at times, a burden forced the lighthouse keeper to protect the sailors from nature until the sun rose. The nights when the man felt more burdened was when the hue of the distant hanging lightbulb filled the dark room–his heart–with warmth. His eyes could not help but close as the hammering rain silenced and hushed blues music amplified as it emanated from the watch room. His soft, warm sheets eliminated his ability to stay vigilant. He almost dozed off when his snoring startled him awake. Although it was dark, he could not retire. So, he begrudgingly climbed up the spiraled, creaky steps of the lighthouse as he did night after pitiful night.
When the man reluctantly stepped out into the fridged gallery, he overlooked the ocean’s vastness. The only thing that gave him solace was the regularity of the lighthouse’s reassuring, spinning rays and the lonely yellow sailboat. On the rare day when there were no sailboats, he wondered if there were any other humans, to begin with. The next time a day like this came, he decided to write a letter.
If you receive this, for whatever reason, I hope you aren’t too estranged. Yes, I have waited for you every day even though I don’t know you, and yes, I feel as though I know you, but I imagine you would understand. When the ocean is your life, there is hardly any room for others. Please don’t stop visiting me.