Chapter Four: The Short Road to the Shallow South

Our action takes us back to Rainbow as she prepares to meet the grandmother she cannot remember and the next door neighbours she will soon meet. She is only a few short kilometres away from the place she’ll call home.

It’s been three days since she ran away to see Oscar Wilde’s grave and three days since her mother announced that she would be going to the other side of the world. Despite begging to stay with her parents and promising to never, ever run away again, her pleading fell on deaf ears. The next morning, Rainbow and Thurston, her father’s butler had taken off for Australia.

She hadn’t spoken a word since she left her parents in their hotel room some thirty-six hours earlier. First class flights had been ordered for the two of them. Paris to Dubai. Dubai to Perth, then a domestic flight to Adelaide.

Rainbow had said nothing at all. She did not cry. She would nod, shake her head to answer Thurston’s occasional question. The look of pity never left his eyes as he took the young girl eastward.

To block out all she was feeling, Rainbow kept her earphones in her ears listening to her father’s music on her iPhone.”Midnight Lullaby“, a song that was written especially for her made her father feel closer.

Rainbow sat in the front seat of the car, staring straight ahead as Thurston drove the rented Lexus south of Adelaide along the freeway. Despite having no memory of being in this place, the land felt familiar to her. The view of the sea from the hills seemed to calm her.

“Not long now.” said Thurston, not taking his eyes off the road. “See, there’s the sign for Yourponga.”

Rainbow said nothing.

They drove on and the road began to wind as they climbed a hill, the sun disappearing behind the clouds.

Rainbow knew that Thurston had been in contact with her grandmother. She watched him has he made secretive phone calls at every airport, trying hard to spare the girls feelings. He’d been with the family since Rainbow was a baby and Rainbow looked at him as if he was a second father.

“You know, kiddo, this might be one of the best things to happen to you.” Thurston told her softly.

Rainbow gave him a death stare.

“You’ll get to have a childhood. You’ll get to run around and get some freedom, away from the hotel rooms and the fighting and the paparazzi.” Thurston’s eyes didn’t leave the road. He maneuvered the car around a left hand bend with ease.

“And the other thing, your Nana is very cool.”

Rainbow had never heard a good word said about her grandmother. This was something new.

Thurston continued, “Yeah, she’s great. A bit alternative, but she’s a good old stick. Your mum gives her a hard time because they agree on nothing. She blames her for your grandfather’s death.”

Rainbow gave Thurston a quizzical  look.

“There’s a lot you don’t know, mate. A lot they haven’t told you. All the fighting between your mum and dad, there are reasons. It’s good that you’re getting away. ”

Rainbow set her sights on the road ahead and took in a deep breath.

“Then why couldn’t they tell me all of this. I know something’s wrong. It’s not just me running away.”

Thurston smiled. “Ah, she speaks.”

“Well?” Rainbow demanded.

“It’s big stuff, kiddo. Hard adult stuff. I know you’re not a child any more, but what your folks are going through would break some people. Just know you’re going to a place where you will have some peace.”

“And my grandmother?”

“I think she would prefer to be called Nana.”

“Okay, this Nana person? You think I’ll like her? And how do you know her?”

“You’re going to love her. Besides, she makes the best biscuits this side of Paris. We met when you were a baby. She was the one who named you. Said Miranda was a dreadful name for somebody so unique. Besides she was right, you did go every colour of the Rainbow when you were born.”

Rainbow knew of the myth. When she was born she came out a bit blue, through lack of oxygen. That was quickly fixed, but then she went a bit orange from a light case of jaundice. Then she pinked up nicely, but all of this was never forgotten and she’s been known as Rainbow from that day forward.

“So you know my grandmother?”

“Absolutely. You know those little biscuits I get sent every year on my birthday? The homemade ones? The ones that you love to steal.”

“The little melting moments?”

“She sends me them every year. Wherever we are in the world.”

“Wow.”

“She’s good, your Nana. I reckon this is for the best.”

“But I’m scared. And I’ll be lonely,” whined Rainbow.

Thurston looked over at her for a second. “It’s okay to be scared, and you might be lonely for a bit, but this, believe me, is better than staying with your parents.”

Thurston maneuvered the car around another corner and the landscape changed. Gone were the arid hills and in their place more trees grew. It has also suddenly become overcast. The road began to bend more.

“You know where you’re going?” asked Rainbow.

“I’ve been here quite a few times. We’re almost there.” said Thurston, pointing to a large group of Norfolk pines

“There is so much I don’t know.”

“That would be correct.”

Thurston started to slow down as he approached a group of trees, in the middle of which was a gravel driveway. The car scrambled along the stones of the track.

From her seat, Rainbow saw a log cabin house with an old blue kombi van at the side. There was a tyre swing handing from the branch of a tree near what looked like a vegetable patch. A black cat sat on the veranda looking very unimpressed. The place was homely, and very neat and tidy. This was not what she was expecting.

“We’re here, kiddo.”

Rainbow took a deep breath in. “Well, here goes nothing.”

 

 

 

Image courtesy of freeimages.com.

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