Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Wordsmiths for March

So here it is, edited and with a dab of polish added for good measure. Did the rework make it better or worse?

Lies You Should Believe

The first lie she told me was about what awaits at the end of a rainbow. She told me my Da was a dreamer, that his addled drunk mind made up stories of faeries and pots of gold to fool himself into thinking his dumb luck would save him one day. Her face under the wimple was pinched, her breath smelled of naptha. She asked God to help me rid myself of foolishness and dreams, her hands trembled against the beads as a false tear slid down her doughy cheek.

But my Da had never lied to me, and so I hated her.

God help her, I thought, that she didn’t know the ways of wise folk, the twitching of the spines of magickal ones, that she couldn’t see beyond the convent walls to the other sparkling worlds created by her God. Her loss that she didn’t believe there was a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow, not mine.

I knew the pot was there because Da had told me. He’d told me that the gold waited just beyond the horizon of the unbelievers, the weak, and faithless. He told me that any simple carnyman herding a Ferris Wheel could tell you the same, that the gold was waiting at the end of the rainbow, slick and wet with sundew, a small watchman guarding it against the ignorant or wicked.

The gold waited there as sure as a strong breeze would come after a hot spell. My Da, a carny for life, said it was as sure as the great Wheel would stop at the top of the sky for each car in its turn, canting against gravity, throwing fate together with fortune and, if you were lucky, a willing seatmate.

My Da knew. He told me. He tried to tell her too, but she is a nun, and nuns can’t be trusted with one single bit of secret. Their tongues wag even when there’s nothing to say, genuflecting against teeth with threats and gossip.

My Da didn’t tell her the secret, though he did tell me after Ma passed on. He told me the secret so simple that a dullard could have dreamt it during an afternoon’s nap. That nun would never have believed it.

Her first big lie was only the start, but it’s what sent me to packing. Now, I’m leaving. When I drop to the ground outside this window, when she finds the spoons I used to dig through this convent’s wall, when I hear her wails of anger come from under her hot bleak cape, it’ll be her day to rue, not mine.

Sure, the secret itself is simple if you believe it to be true. The dicey bit is first deciding which end of any rainbow is the start, and which is the beginning. The big secret is that what’s the middle is what makes the riches. It’s the journey, not the end, that makes the search worthwhile.

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