The Lighthouse: A Short Story by Mike Cole

He had reached this shore many times before. The waves crashed against the rocks as the fa├žade of the lighthouse came into view. Faded were the once bright colors, the bricks long since crumbled on a shore unknown to man. He was trapped and every time he ventured, he eventually wound up back where he started. His memories were beginning to fade and his reality had become a blur. How many years had it been? Ten years? One Hundred? Time had no relevance here. He could see every reality play out, timelines that were no longer his own. When the rift had opened up, he had thought nothing of it. A glitch in the matrix, a blip in time and space. He thought he could make it back but the further he ventured, the more the route changed and the more it stayed the same; twisting and turning as if a machination of his own imagination. For every step forward, a step backwards. It was always the Damn lighthouse. A shelter in the storm and now a prison. He would always end up back here. He could be gone years, live a life and travel as far as his body would take him, but eventually, he would find himself back.

The light had not shone in years. But every so often it would begin to flicker and come whirring back to life, focusing its beam on some unseen shore in the darkness. And every time he would follow the light. Sometimes through storms, other times dead stillness. The waters were always an inky black. Heaven or Hell, he could not tell, more of an in-between if anything; purgatory, if you will. At first, reality jumping had been fun, living a different life from his own. He could see how his life would have played out, if he had only made different choices. In one he had a family, found love early on and kept it. The other he was a CEO, another a treasure hunter. Each a piece of him and each uniquely different. There was no life in this Ocean as far as he could tell, only darkness. Funny, considering the rifts he jumped through. He was getting closer to the rift and he wondered what he’d find this time around. Would spiders crawl out of it? Would he feel the splash of water? Rats? Anything was possible when traveling through the rift. He felt something brush up against the boat. A moment later, he capsized.

Without You: A poem by Mike Cole

You were the tide as the waves came to shore

And as the waves lapse, it makes me sad that I can’t see you anymore.

Your ship is now far out at sea

No lighthouse to guide you, no place to be.

Perhaps there is land beyond my horizon,

But for now, I must wait, on this sandy shore.


To end the month of April, a poem about my father. Here, I conjure up images of a life that was never meant to be, of a past best left forgotten. My father was a sailor for most of his life, taking to the sea to escape the realities of everyday life. I never was one much for sailing but can understand why my father loved it so much. There is something freeing about being on the open water, an experience I yearn for as I try not to be trapped by the mundane. My father passed away in 2019 so this is my ode to him. It is a poem about longing for what cannot be, as I stand on sandy shores looking out to sea. It speaks to my admiration of my father as a child, what now seems so distant a memory. Lighthouses guide lost ships that cannot find harbor, and the tragedy lies in that my father drifted too far out to sea.

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