“What?” She asked after seeing their newly formed expressions.
“Just surprised, that’s all.” Brian answered. “We can help with the guitar.”
“No offense, but you travel too much and I can buy a book.”
“And the guitar?” Kevin asked.
“I have a few at my disposal.” Isabella answered Kevin. “My dad plays and has an acoustic, a bass and two other ones.”
“Why don’t you have him teach you?”
She turned to him and rolled her eyes.
“Not in a million years. He tried teaching me how to drive a manual transmission once. It was a disaster. Plus, I don’t think he knows how to read guitar music.”
“And that’s important?” Nick questioned.
“To me, yes. Sorry, but it’s the teacher in me.” She quickly answered and then paused. “By your attitude, Nick, I can assume you don’t either.”
“Ouch.” Brian commented. “She called you out on that one.”
“Shut up Brian.” Nick replied half biting his tongue. “So, what if I don’t?” He asked her.
“So respect that I do and I’ll respect your choice in not being a real musician.” She answered insulting him and then took a sip of her raspberry lemonade. Inside she was dying of wanting to laugh out loud and embarrassment.
“New subject?” Howie suggested trying to relieve some of the tension.
“Sounds good to me.” Kevin agreed “But now we talk about singing.”
“Pardon?” Isabella said then caught up. “The question of whether or not I can sing is debatable and that’s all I am saying on that matter.” She added closing the topic.
“Okay, the subject of her music capabilities has been closed.” AJ commented.
“So, we figure out a new topic.” Kristen commented. “How long have you been at the lighthouse?” And, how did you get into volunteering there?”
“Finally, a topic I can enjoy!” Isabella joked as she sat up in her seat. “Back in the summer of 2002 my parents and I went down to Cape May, New Jersey to the lighthouse in the state park there and climbed. On the way back home, we swung by Atlantic City and went to the Absecon Lighthouse after I saw it in a brochure or something and mentioned it. My dad and I climbed that one too. My mom was too chicken. Anyway, we were talking to the volunteer at the top and he kind of recruited me, or at least peaked my interest. I started volunteering the following February. Doing the math, that’s a little over nine years now.”
“Wow, that’s fairly impressive.” Howie’s wife, Leah stated.
“What would be impressive is if she remembers how many steps she climbed.” Kevin joked.
“Four hundred twenty seven.” Isabella answered not missing a beat. “But that’s nothing. I’ve climbed the Absecon Lighthouse like four times in one day. I was pretty much dead the next day though.” She added with a smile.
“Can we do a little lighthouse trivia?” Howie asked.
Isabella knew where this was going and didn’t mind.
“You want to see if I know my stuff, which I assure you I do.” She replied. “But let me save you the trouble.” She added and then paused taking a breath. “The first lighthouses were really fires on posts on cliffs. The first recorded lighthouse building was the Pharos of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt, which is no longer standing. It was demolished by an earthquake. It also happened to be one of the original Seven Wonders of the World.” She started. “That was also the tallest structure at the time. The tallest lighthouse in the world currently is the Jeddah Light in Saudi Arabia, standing at four hundred thirty six feet.” <pause> “Michigan has the most lighthouses in the United States, not Maine, like some believe. The tallest land masonry lighthouse in the United States is the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The second tallest is Ponce de Leon Lighthouse in Florida and the Absecon Light is the third tallest. The tallest general lighthouse in the country is the Statue of Liberty, and yes, it was used as a lighthouse for about ten years. The oldest lighthouse site is where the Boston Light is located. The original was destroyed in the Revolutionary War and they had to rebuild. The oldest continuously operating lighthouse in the US is the Sandy Hook Lighthouse in New Jersey.” She said and then took another pause and breath. “The first lighthouse in the world to use the Fresnel Lens was the Cordouan Lighthouse in France and the first lighthouse to use it in the states was the Twin Lights of Navesink in the Atlantic Highlands in New Jersey on a trial basis.” She quickly added. “Anything I’ve missed?”
“No. I don’t think you did.” Brian replied shocked. “I guess you get asked these questions a lot.”
“Yeah, a little too much, but at least I know my stuff. After nine years though, it does get tiring.” She answered him.
They spent more time talking and asking her questions. Although she didn’t like talking about herself, she answered them as honestly as she could. Before they knew it, their lunch was over and she had to head back to the Port Authority to head home.
“You guys could have offered a ride back to the Port Authority, you know.” Rochelle commented when Isabella was about a block away.
“Yeah, but she said she had to make a few calls and she preferred to walk.” Brian replied.
As soon as she was a decent distance from the group, Isabella pulled out her iPhone and updated her status via a text message.
“Turned out to be a VERY interesting day.”
She then texted Rebecca.
“Call me when you get a chance. Lots to tell you.”
Not wanting to miss anything, she logged onto her Facebook to see if Rebecca commented on her status from earlier in the morning. Rebecca did, as did Isabella’s other friend, Noelle. Rebecca only said “details” and Noelle added to Rebecca’s comment by writing “do tell.” Isabella reminded herself to text Noelle after she talked to Rebecca. Moments later Isabella’s cell was ringing.
“Hey Rebecca!” She greeted after seeing the caller ID.
“So, what’s up?”
“Not much, but you sure as heck jinxed me.”
“How?” Rebecca questioned curiously.
“Brian ended up calling me last night asking to meet up with them today in the city to talk about the poem. Now I am on my way back to Port Authority in New York and heading home.”
“Yes.” Isabella replied and then went into more detail and came clean about the day before at the lighthouse.
“Oh my!” Rebecca replied. “I’ll let it slide that you saw them yesterday since this is all happening. This is so cool!”
“Yeah, and you’re the reason that it is happening.”
“But it’s not like you didn’t have a part. I mean, you DID write them poem.”
“And it was you who posted it in the forum.”
“I can’t wait to hear it. I bet it’s awesome.”
“I’ll bring the rough cut I currently had when I come out there in a couple of weeks.”
“Can’t wait! Can I also import the rough cut to my collection?”
“Sure, but don’t send it to anyone.”