Trapdoor: a novel by Vixen Phillips
At The End Of The Rainbow
Every birthday from the time I turned nine, Nori and I, and sometimes Monty or Grandma, would come to this place, each of us bearing a white and blue rose. We’d kiss the flowers, speak our thoughts as some kind of prayer in her native tongue, then toss the petals out over the ocean.
The blue roses were very rare and hard to come by, but she grew them for me, since that was my wish. The way she tended her garden with such quiet love, while I hid in the shadows and watched on behind the thorns, taught me how love could exist so simply, for anything.
Today I’m twenty-one years old. That’s the same age you were, Father, and since Nori’s gone away from us this spring, I’ve come to you all by myself. Hitched the long road down from the high country, all the way to the south-west coast. This is why I’m so late, why the sun’s already sinking into the ocean, staining the waters like a blob of paint. Guess it doesn’t matter. By now, the waves must know me by name.
The first stars are waking up on the opposite horizon. The sign… I open my satchel, pull out the book of words I already prepared, and gather the flowers. A blue rose for the beautiful, tortured Raven. A white rose for the wistful, dreaming Pegasus.
Everyone goes away from me eventually. But that’s okay, how it is.
I climb to the edge of the cliff, and gaze out over the end of the world. Spread my arms wide, a stem in either hand. Pegasus—Jaime—is this how it felt? Smiling, I close my eyes to the yearning light, and then I release the roses into the air, set them sailing off over the ocean, these fragments of myself. The pain’s short-lived, even if the force that drives it is eternal. But if I keep the cage door open, I can connect with anyone. You’ll never be lost to me, not ever.
I climb down from the cliff, back to the graves. Here between them, I make my bed. Lying on my back, I hold tight to the silver cross, and read and re-read your letters and try to scribble some sense out of my thoughts, till the light fails. Then I move on to the memories in my heart.
I know I’ll see you again, someday.
Someday, at the end of the rainbow.