In the museum of a New Jersey lighthouse, a landmark in Atlantic City, in the gift shop on a Saturday in mid-March. It’s almost noon and the lighthouse has only been open for about an hour now. The weather is relatively warm for a March Saturday, but the lighthouse is not as busy as it could be.
As Isabella finished up ringing the latest climbers for the historic Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City, she heard a group of people as they walked on the porch. She prepared herself for her typical greeting, but stopped as soon as she is about to speak when she noticed who was walking in. She waited for the whole group to come into the beginning of the museum before talking.
“Hello and welcome to the Absecon Lighthouse.” She said as she approached them.
“Thank you.” came a reply from a small portion of the group.
“So, what’s the deal here? Do we just climb?” one of them asked.
“Well, I’ll explain. Isabella started. “First, my name’s Isabella and I’m a volunteer here. Second, if you are going to climb the historic tower, there’s an admission rate of seven dollars for adults and four dollars for children aged four to twelve. If you are not going to climb, but will look around the museum, which are these three rooms, there’s a general admission of two dollars for adults, but kids are free on that one.” She said and then took a breath and smiled. “And may I ask you a question?”
Isabella debated on asking, but she did anyway, since she was curious.
“Why are you in Atlantic City? Shouldn’t you be in L.A. recording?”
Luckily for her, she got a few laughs out of them.
“So, you recognize us then?”
“Yes, how could I not?” She asked rhetorically and smiled. “I must admit it was a shock to see you guys walk in the door.”
“Well, in answer to your question, we are here business and pleasure.” Brian answered.
Isabella just nodded her head as acknowledgement.
“Okay, then. Well, you can all figure out who is climbing and who isn’t and I can ring you up at the register. I think I’ll swing the general admission for you guys though.” she replied and then the phone rang. “If you’ll excuse me, I need to answer that.” she added and headed towards the phone.
As she was handling the customer on the phone, Brian and AJ walked over to her at the register.
“I’ll be right with you guys.” She said after she noticed they were there. A few moments later she hung up the phone. “Did you guys figure it out?”
“Yeah,” AJ started, “Twelve adults and four kids to climb. The rest of us are staying down here.”
Isabella smiled and started to scan the admission barcodes after she moved her notebook that was still on the barcode book to the chair behind her.
“Looks like someone likes to write.” Brian commented.
Isabella looked up at him slightly startled.
“Yeah, when I feel like it.” She said then paused. She turned to the notebook and closed it since she forgot she left it open when she moved it. She went back to the sale immediately following.
AJ laughed as she told him the total and handed her his credit card. After swiping it, she immediately handed it back to him and proceeded with the routine. The group climbed and those who didn’t hung around the museum (AJ and Brian were both part of the non-climbing group). Isabella gave the volunteer at the top a heads up with the latest head count so he could prepare himself and pre-sign the necessary cards.
“If you guys have any questions, let me know. I am more than willing and able to answer them.”
“Thanks.” Brian replied with a grin as he looked at AJ, who was also grinning. He walked away from the group downstairs and followed Isabella into the gift shop area and he took out his phone. “I have a question for you.”
Isabella looked up.
“Did you write this poem?” He asked as he handed her his cell phone.
She took the phone with some hesitation and read what he had opened. Right away she knew it was hers and that his phone was not on her Facebook page where she had only ever posted it.
“By your expression I can tell that it is. Am I right?” he asked as she handed back his phone.
“Yeah, it is mine.” She managed to stammer out. “But what website is that on? I’ve only posted it in my “Notes” section on Facebook.”
“A friend of yours posted it on our fan club’s forum.” He admitted.
“Hmph. Must have been Rebecca.” Isabella stated. “And somehow I am not surprised.”
“Really? You’re not mad at her?” AJ asked as he came over.
“I am a little peeved, don’t get me wrong, but what I do about it now? If there’s been any damage, it’s been done.” She replied shrugging off what her friend did.
“What if I told you it’s only received positive comments and a push to get us record it?” Brian asked.
Isabella had to think about what he had just asked before responding.
“Then I’d say that’s cool and it was probably Rebecca’s goal to get you guys to at least read it.” She answered and then paused. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that there’s been a lot of feedback, but it IS a tad bit weird to have you here.”
“So, will you let us record it?” AJ asked as he put his arm around her.
She was quiet and indecisive for a few moments before answering his question.
“I guess.” she said relenting. “But I want credit for writing the lyrics.” she added.
“Of course!” AJ replied. “Honestly, if we didn’t, we’d have a mess of fans who knew that someone else wrote it to deal with.” He added jokingly. “Now can we have the story? Did you write it about Leslie?”
“Actually, no I didn’t write it about her, but yet it does relate.” Isabella answered and then paused. “It’s about a friend’s sister who unexpectedly passed away two days after Thanksgiving in 2010.” She said and then paused again, debating on if she should go into more detail. “And that’s all I am going to say right now.”
“Well, hopefully, we’ll learn more about it at a later time.” Brian commented. “Now, why is this lighthouse called “Absecon Lighthouse” when it’s in Atlantic City and why is it so far from the water?”
Isabella let out a small chuckle before answering the questions. Once she was done the climbers came down and practically collapsed on the floor.
“Damn! That’s a workout!” Nick commented as he came over. “Frack, you would not have enjoyed that.”
“Gee, and I thought you guys were in shape.” Isabella joked receiving an odd look from Nick as a response.
“I thought we were too.” Kevin commented. “How old is the volunteer at the top?”
“Umm…eighty-five I believe.” She answered. “Now you really feel out of shape, don’t you?” She jokingly asked.
“Just a little.” Kevin responded. “But it was worth it. Do you ever climb?”
“Yeah, sometimes more than once a day.”