The Lighthouse Keeper

For The Fault in Our Stars competition.
The lighthouse and the the old man.


1. The Lighthouse Keeper

The Lighthouse Keeper

Based on the quote, "That's the thing about pain. It demands to be felt." from the book The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.


A solitary beam gleamed in the blanket of darkness, emitted from a proud looking lighthouse standing isolated at the bay. It illuminated scattered snatches of the sea, revealing the murky surface but not the unfathomable depths. The lighthouse keeper traced the familiar view with his eyes, watching the waves lap against the land and crash against the rocks. From this view, a view he had seen countless times before, the old man couldn’t help but draw parallels.

He watched as the wave crashed against the coast line, wearing down everything in its path. Respite fleeting before the sea came again, never leaving and never forgotten. The Sea was pain, relentless and consistent in its aim.

The old man wheezed, clutching the peeling window as he felt the waves lap at his feet; threatening to flood him. Almost blindly he reached for his chair, struggling to pull himself down.

He breathed deeply, determined that the cancer that racked his body would never penetrate his mind. Many people who had cancer were angry, rightly so, they detested the illness that overtook them. It made them helpless, made them scream with excruciating pain, made them die. But the old man didn’t resent it, far from it, he understood it.

Cancer was just trying to survive:  like the rest of existence.  

Again he felt another wave approaching, his gnarled fingers grasped at the arms of the his chair, but the wooden arms were no substitute for human contact. Human contact was not something the lighthouse keeper could afford. His wife, forever frozen in his memory as the soft, young girl dancing in the living room, had died many years before as an old woman crippled by a stroke. His last hope in the world was his lighthouse, its beam guiding him and others to safety.

And as he felt the caress of pain surround him, his mind brought him back to a time when his only worries were the girl in the living room and whether or not the light went out.

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