12. The lighthouse
The sand was cold even after one whole day. But it had been, after all and as usual, a cloudy and moist day. Even though the sun had decided to show himself a little a few times, in the end it hadn't been enough to warm the beach.
Sam was beginning to regret having gone to that damned city, which seemed dead to her. Any possible information about Julia Farrel was out of her reach. Whenever she thought she was getting closer to find the woman, a new obstacle stood tall in front of Samantha to laugh at her, blocking her view and washing her hopes away.
However, Ray was different. He was like the spark before a fire. Like the first tiny cell, all alone in de middle of the huge ocean.
They arrived over twenty past seven. It was further than she expected, but she had to admit the building commanded some respect. Truly, the lighthouse was abandoned - it had been years since the last boat stopped at that pier -, yet it shared its isolation. Even without a heart, Samantha found the lighthouse relatable.
'What do you think?' the boy asked with his big brown eyes, filling the silence with his curiosity. He was the spark of life, and slowly, he filled the ocean with his questions.
'It's... nice.' During a split of a second, Ray seemed happy enough with that answer, but quickly he frowned, insecure. 'How? Do you mean it in the normal sense, or in the grown up sense?'
Unable to believe his words, Sam thought silently for a moment, trying to figure out whether it was a joke or not. After deciding it wasn't, she laughed loudly for the first time in a long time. The child's expression swung between a smile and a frown, between relief and disbelief. Finally, the woman said: 'Grown up sense? How does that even work!'
'Yes.' A calm which was unknown for the woman covered his face. It was like a patient teacher trying to answer a question. Respectfully, without condescendence. 'Adults usually use the word "nice" when they don't want to hurt your feelings. But I am old enough to stand it.'
And once again, he showed the woman how valuable he was. How mature, in spite of his age, while adults being much older were unable to take care of themselves or the younger ones. Wearing a serious and sincere expression, Sam assured: 'I mean it in the normal way.'
And once inside, she found out how true it was. A few worn out steps before reaching the top. It was all very gray, even the bulb, covered in dust, but somehow very nostalgic and beautiful. Like, in a rainy day, warm covers and hot chocolate, it felt comfortable. Safe, like a home where you wouldn't be disturbed.
'I would like to feel like the lighthouse,' began the boy after a long silence. 'Can you imagine? Guiding the boats, knowing that without you, they would be nothing... They would just be lost in the sea... or crash against the coast. Without you, the ship is just a floating piece of wood and fabric.'