She stood on the rocky beach holding up the lantern as the brilliant sunset faded into pale memories. It’s warm flame cast a pleasant light over her as she waited. He had said he would come. She believed that he would, but as night drew closer, she began to doubt.
She searched the horizon but saw nothing as the twilight slowly dissolved into darkness. The warm breezes that had danced along the shores during the day turned cooler and began to hint of rain. She could see storm clouds in the distance. Still…she did not move. She held onto the light.
As the rain began to fall, she could feel the cold settling in. Would he see it? Would he see her light among the others on the coast? How would he find her among the lights of the towns and homes that spread for miles? How would he see her small lamp, held close to her heart while she shivered on the shore?
The tide started to come in and the large rocky beach began to disappear as she backed towards the cliff walls. She had nowhere to go, for if she gave up and left, he would never find her. It was then the first, large cold wave washed over her. It took her breath away and she gasped. She shivered and the light wavered as she stumbled backwards and fell to the ground. The light sputtered in the lantern and almost went out. She looked up at the edge of the dark horizon and the lantern lying on its side and began to wonder if she shouldn’t give up.
“Not yet,” she whispered. Cautiously, she reached over and picked the light up. Pushing against the sharp rocks which cut marks in her legs and hands, she stood up. The light had partially dimmed, but it still burned. She held it close to her body to warm herself, careful not to cover the light completely. Shaken, but determined to not give up, she stood still and scanned the horizon. He was still not to be seen.
As the night wore on, icy waves continued to knock her to the ground as the cold rain pelted. Tears mixed with salt water. She was now numb from the cold and exhaustion, yet she picked herself up every time and stood her ground. Maybe he would not come. Maybe she had waited all this time for nothing. She felt foolish for continuing to wait, but something inside her heart told her not to leave. Not to give up.
It was in the fourth watch of the night that her hand dropped with the lantern at her side. She could not go on. She had given everything she had. She dropped to her knees and let the tears flow as she stared aimlessly at the horizon empty with despair. She had held on for so long…
It was then the spark of light in the distance caught her eye. She stared at it, not really believing it was meant for her. Yet, within a few minutes, the light grew larger and closer. Could it be…? She almost couldn’t breathe. Struggling to stand up one more time, she lifted the lantern high above her head with a spark of hope. The light on the small boat became clear and with it, she heard his voice calling over the waves. Miracle though it seemed, he had found her light. He had found her.
Her sailor had come home.