~Part Six~

The loss of Paradise, indeed! How Miltonic! How Puritanical! How we still labor to see the City upon a Hill—even if through bleeding eyes.

How we look back upon California. A strawberry blond, Redwood-tall, turquoise-eyed girl from California! With a cursive profile and a quicksilver grin and a complexion whiter than the deserts I'd crossed to meet her! I see her with the ocean spray in her lashes or the Sierra Nevadas at her back—always at her back and never before her! Always surmounted, having come down the other side of the foothills with our families and futures ahead of us!

California lets down her long, red hair so it falls to her waist and bounces up again in the breeze, without a thought to gravity. With arms outstretched she weaves her fingers through the wind and swoops them down to the water, wide open as the wings of an albatross, to splash the sea salt on her face and comb it through the tendrils at her forehead. She leans lightly against a cypress tree, signaling me to join. I do not so much walk up the beach as float toward an irresistible, yet inscrutable, life force in the late morning, dissipating mist with turquoise eyes shining brighter than the most precious stones. She places her fingers upon my clavicle, just above my heart, and swears upon her honor to protect me from Ohio—from every shred of my provenance, of the past she has no way of knowing and, God help me, never would know.

[He gazes off into the distance as a vein in his neck begins to pulse visibly.]

California pushes North toward Seward's Icebox, along the San Andreas Fault. CALIFORNIA PUSHES NORTH ALONG A FAULTLINE TO THE POLE! All of California pushes back away from me and her secrets lie at the bottom of some bay! California trusted me with her secrets and I lost them all!

All had sunk to the bottom of the Bay with a common black trunk of mine!


[His eyes continue bleeding.]

God, this is revolting!

Ere we pull into port at St. Thomas, Dear Reader, before I must decide on my next course of action, allow me to quote one final time from my magnum opus—my ode to dear, departed California! Perhaps from the very ending: