Once upon a time, a boy decided to take two girls on an adventure walk.
The girls agreed, not because they liked walking, but because he assured them they would see something really cool at the end. They heard him say it was a lighthouse. The Cape Woolamai Lighthouse.
The weather was hot, the dry and scalding heat, without even a drop of cleansing humidity, that only Victoria can produce. The walk was long, made longer by the lack of air and the dense beach-scrub and the sand that shifted and sifted its way through the mesh of their fancy runners.
The girls whinged and complained and carried on about how long the walk was, and how this walk better be worth it and how damn hot they were. They looked straight ahead at the back of the boy’s head, or down at their feet, quietly grumping about how their runners were getting ruined by the sand, how boring this walk was.
They wanted to stop and go back many times, but they spurred themselves on by thinking about how good it would be once they got to the lighthouse. They imagined the view of the lighthouse glinting in the sun, bright white against the IBM blue of the sky. They imagined it would be worth it all. In the end.
By and by, and seven hundred and eighty-five whinges later, the boy turned around with a grin and a flourish. Here you go girls: gesturing to the sign.
Just a light. On a pole. Like a streetlight, but not as interesting. It seemed that they had heard him incorrectly, so intent were they on the idea of something. Something that didn’t even exist.
The girls went through the stages: denial, anger, sadness. They told the boy off for tricking them and making them walk all this way, in this heat, for nothing but a light on a pole. They felt like they had been deceived. Completely ripped off.
So whilst they harangued the boy over the hoax, he just smiled and smiled until he finally said, “Happiness is a journey girls, not a destination.”
The girls went quiet.
And finally, they smiled too.
How is it for you, is happiness the journey, or the destination?
…From The Ashers