All Journeys Must Come to an End for The Next to Begin
Chapter 42: All Journeys Must Come to an End for The Next to Begin
“I’m so glad you could come,” Alice said after I had finished telling my tale. A tale she was very aware of. She then hugged me and kissed my cheek.
“To the desert,” I stated after she pulled away from me and her arms were back on her side of the old brown couch.
Alice frowned. “Hey, I know it’s not the best place but after all you’ve been through and everything I’ve been through, this is the best place for us.”
“Away from civilization?”
“Yes,” Alice nodded. “But we’re not really that far away from civilization. Camrose is just about an hour away from here.”
“O.K.,” I said. I needed answers. “Alice, what the fuck’s been going on for two years?”
“But Art, you just explained it. That was the story you just told me,” Alice said a little bit hurt.
“Did you expect me to ask someone?”
“No,” she said quietly. “I thought it would be cool.”
“To completely fuck with my brain?”
“Art, if you think it was a bad idea, you can leave now. You can go back to Toronto and live your ordinary life.”
And that’s when I kissed her lips and this time she didn’t slap me. “I don’t want to go. I love you.”
“I love you too,” Alice smiled like an overexcited schoolgirl.
“Just…everything was so strange and…you were behind it all? Yep. Well, I mean, I had help. Do you really want to know?”
“No,” I said shocking myself a bit. “Some things need to remain a mystery.”
“Yeah,” agreed Alice. “So does the situation with Joe. All you need to know is that we’re done.”
“O.K.,” I said again.
“They really drilled that word into you, didn’t they?”
“I guess,” I shrugged. I had a very good idea who “they” were. “But your whole adventure was like going down a rabbit hole which is fitting, given that your name is Alice.”
“But it was so trippy because it was all happening in reality. Yet, it wasn’t real. It was staged.”
I smiled. “I can’t believe you did this.”
“Well, believe it because this is going to be our life. No more parents, no more responsibilities.”
“Whoa, hang on, we’re going to live in this shack?”
“Art, it’s not a shack,” said Alice as she lightly punched my left shoulder. “I mean, yes, it’s a bit rundown but together we’re going to make it look spectacular. And the greatest part is we’re going to work on it together. Call it another art project. Art’s Project.”
“You’re hilarious,” I said as I playfully shoved her. God, I love this girl. “But what about careers?”
“What do you mean? didn’t my journey teach you anything?”
“Yeah, I mean, I want to be an artist, but I’m not exactly sure what kind. Painting I don’t think is really my thing.”
“Why? because your first painting blew in the wind? But the great thing about this place is that you can discover that here.”
“I’ll get so much inspiration from a desert.”
“You know, there are artists who live in actual deserts.”
“Why did you choose New Norway? Couldn’t we have lived anywhere?”
“Yeah, but we needed to get away and meet in the middle. New Norway is in the middle of both Ontario and Kelowna.”
“So is Edmonton,” I pointed out.
“Art, trust me, it’s better that we’re here.”
“Alright, now before we actually become lovers and friends, you have to promise me that you’ll never say ‘O.K.’ as long as you live.”
“Yes,” I nodded. “I kind of hate the word anyway.”
“But you know, you were a bit selfish to choose this town.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Because New Norway is closer to your hometown than it is to mine.”
“True, but does it really matter?”
“No. Being in a secluded area is fine by me.”
“Think of it as a good place to escape to and not be found when you become famous with your art.”
“I don’t even know what I want to do as an artist yet.”
“You have years to figure that out.”
“What about you? What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to be a psychologist.”
“Yes. I’m still taking courses in Kelowna.”
“Wait, hang on, you’re going to leave me?”
“Not indefinitely, but yes. I’ve got to finish school. I came here to get you settled. I’ve taken two weeks off and in those two weeks we’re going to get settled in New Norway. I’ll show you the one bar and everything else that makes this place great even if it’s a bit, you know, dusty.”
“What made you pick New Norway? I’m sorry, I just know there has to be a story.”
“It’s where my parents were born.”
“Yeah. They got married kind of quickly.”
“Love at first sight.”
“Because I get it.”
Alice beamed and then grabbed my hand. “I want to show you something.” And then she led me to her blue Mini Cooper.
Once she had gotten into the driver’s seat, she opened up her armrest and pulled out Simple Plan’s Get Your Heart On – The Second Coming! She then played the first song: “Ordinary Life” by Simple Plan and as I heard the words I knew that if my life ever became a movie, this would be the song that would play once the credits began to roll.
There is a God. He just doesn’t take you on the same kind of journey that Alice took me on. You may see the exact same dress on another girl. You might hear someone say you’re all right but they were never speaking to you. You may even hear a bunch of love songs in a row, but God works in mysterious ways and we won’t really know Heaven until we get there.
This book I want to call my masterpiece. It took me four years to get this book down on paper. The events in this book are mostly fictional but something quite similar to what Art experienced is what actually happened to me.
So, I would like to thank Mariah Chapman and Christie Maragos for being the inspiration behind this book along with all of the students at U.B.C.O. and of course the campus itself.
My parents will always be there to support me no matter what decision I make and being a novelist is not an easy job I assure you.
I also have to recognize my friends and the internet because without their help this book wouldn’t have become what it is now. Two friends I would really like to sincerely thank are Alvin Wong and George Triantos.
Alvin, thanks for the novel workshops where I was able to figure out how to make this book the bestseller I hope it becomes. George, thanks for being such a great friend. Throughout all my ruff times, I could have never asked for a better friend than you. I love you, man. I love everybody! Andy Ruffett over and out.
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