95 Steps to Brooklyn

sonia beach

We left her behind.

She wanted to go. She really did. Ninety-five steps, with a nine-rung ladder at the very end. I tried to tell her it wouldn't work out, but my Little One wouldn't listen.

So we began the ascent, and half way up she couldn't make it. Knee swollen like a balloon (looks like it's Lyme's Disease), the steps were too daunting.

We left her behind.

sonia half way

My heart broke to see her sit down alone on that winding staircase in the oldest lighthouse in the U.S. She'd come so close, but now we would go on without her. "I'll be back," I said. "You'll be okay."

My Eldest and I continued our ascent. The group clambered up; when we were all at the pinnacle, the guide closed a "hatch." We looked out at Brooklyn, Long Island, the ocean ever churning. "It's awesome!" I said again and again.

She could hear me. That's what she said afterwards.

When the guide opened the hatch to begin our descent, there she was. My Little One had suffered her way to the top alone, past dust and cobwebs, through echoes and shadows. "Can I please come up?" she choked out quietly, tears rising. I looked at the guide and whispered, "Please." It would mean messing up the schedule. It would mean waiting for this Child.

"Sure," said the guide, eyes wide with recognition. My Little One dragged herself up the nine-rung ladder and reached the top. "I heard you," she said. "I wanted to see it too."

sonia on the way


Sonia on the beach and in the Lighthouse, photos by L.L. Barkat.

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Blogger Sarah said...

My heart broke for her, at the bottom of the steps alone, listening to the ooos and ahs. And then it broke again, when her determined heart overcame her throbbing feet and she climbed. What a girl . . . and what a guide, to welcome her like that. And what a God, who sometimes does the same for us!

10:02 PM  
Blogger Glynn said...

This is a poem, L.L. Or at least a short story.

12:08 AM  
Blogger deb said...

you made my early morning here.. as I'm procrastinating a little jog.
so poignant

6:24 AM  
Blogger Sharon said...


6:45 PM  
Blogger Joelle said...

Tears in my own eyes now, feeling her longing.

10:39 PM  
Blogger travelmom said...

Every mom must feel an ache as they read this. So glad she made it to the top. Thanks for this.


1:07 AM  
Blogger Children of Eve said...

I want to hug Sonia!

8:55 AM  

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