Hendricks Head Lighthouse, photo courtesy lighthousefriends.com.
“I dunno. But don’t you ever want to see someplace else? There’s a whole ‘nother world out there on the other side of the ocean.”
Molly pursed her lips. “I like it fine here. Besides, you’re going to be a lighthouse keeper like your dad, aren’t you?” And I’m supposed to marry you. That’s the way things happened among lighthouse families who usually married others in the lighthouse community.
“Not sure. Maybe. Maybe not.”
Molly jumped up and slapped Tommy on the back. “Tag, you’re it!” then she took off running again.
But five years later, the two sat on the same bluff and Tommy said, “I’m joining the Navy.”
Molly’s heart seemed to stop. Turning to him she said, “You can’t. You’re too young.”
“I’ll be eighteen in a couple of months, and that’s old enough to be in the Navy.”
“I’ve got to go.” He stared out at the sea. “I can’t be stuck on land all my life.”
Molly looked away, afraid he’d see the tears in her eyes. Tommy slipped his arm around her shoulders and gave her a hug. “Hey, it’s okay. I’ll write, you know.”
Molly sniffed. “You better.”
And so he did. For the next two years, she got a letter from Tommy once a month. He sounded happy, like he was enjoying his new life at sea. But he never said anything about coming back to see her. Then the country went to war and the letters grew farther apart until they stopped altogether.
Molly was worried. Had something happened to him? Or had he simply lost interest in writing to her? She asked her parents to find his parents who had been transferred to another island lighthouse and find out about Tommy. Word came back that he was still in the Navy somewhere in the Pacific. When the war ended, Molly expected Tommy to come see her, but he never did.