“It’s up and around the corner there,” Vincent said breathlessly. Thanks to the lovely blazing sun and cushioning humidity, he had sweat through his shirt. And underwear. And shorts. And there were dribbles of sweat coursing down his legs and soaking his socks.
Amelia wasn’t saturated yet, but the thick coating of sunscreen applied earlier had pooled her sweat beneath it where it struggled to find a way to the surface. They reached the top of the hill and faced the lighthouse. “Huh. It looks smaller than in the brochures.”
“I’m sure the view up there is spectacular.” He double-checked his moist pocket for assurance his camera had survived the alarming bus ride. Thank heaven they didn’t let tourists have cars. These drivers were crazy enough without putting lunatic vacationers on the narrow, unfamiliar roads.
They approached the lighthouse’s base of, which appeared to have been repainted recently, probably at the beginning of tourist season. They expected a guard or ticket booth of some sort, but found the area deserted. There wasn’t even a sign to caution visitors regarding the railing-less spiral staircase leading to the lantern room.
“Hello?” Amelia called through the opening. “Should we go in?”
“Who’s gonna stop us?” Vincent led the way, hoping the shady interior would provide relief from the sun’s heat.
The interior had been painted as well, but clusters of chewing gum had already reappeared along the wall beside scratches from pens and permanent markers signifying that so-and-so “was here.” Vincent went ahead, tracing his hand along the wall for balance on the ascent, but Amelia shied away from the tacky stone and took her time.
Vincent was busy tugging on the two doors leading to the catwalk when Amelia emerged from below. The locked doors were the only attempt to protect against probable stupidity and inevitable lawsuits.
They stood for a few minutes gazing out at the island stretching out behind them and the blue horizon where the ocean and sky merged at an indistinguishable point in the distance.
“So, what d’you want to do now?” Standing inside a giant glass room was a little too much like standing in a sauna. Vincent wanted to get moving again.
“How long till the bus gets here again?”
“At least an hour.”
“Well, that beach over there doesn’t look too far. Why don’t we just walk?”
The pale stretch of sand appeared to be on the far side of the inlet.
“What the hell,” Vincent shrugged and headed back down the corkscrew death-trap stairs.
An hour and a half later, Vincent stood knee deep in the cool water, his socks in his pockets, his shoes tied together by the laces and thrown over his shoulder. Walking with only a general direction in mind, it had taken much longer than expected to reach their destination.
“Look, there’s the lighthouse,” Amelia pointed.
Vincent squinted, his hand shading his eyes, he was able to make out a dot that was slightly taller than the dots around it.