The End Of The Rainbow – Episode 53

Adam stepped into the scented dusk of the small garden, and threw himself down on the grassy bank that rose gently towards neat rows of vines. The kitchen was lit and, through the window, he could see Madeleine stacking plates as they were dried. As he watched, she came over to the window, took a piece of paper from her pocket and studied it for a moment, before putting it away hurriedly when her mother approached.He smiled to himself, turning over in his mind the memories of their sittings at Rhuari’s studio, of the delicacy of her profile as she studied a book, turning the pages so carefully that she did not seem to move at all. Once, on a sultry summer afternoon, she had fallen asleep, her head thrown back on Rhuari’s battered old chaise longue, her arm trailing elegantly beside her fallen book. Adam had made a hurried charcoal sketch then, but had hidden it before she awoke, promising himself that, some day, it would emerge as a painting.“Adam?”He started as she spoke from the doorway. She came to sit beside him, chin on hands.“We will go to Montparnasse, Adam? You see only Montmartre. And Montparnasse, c’est aussi. . .” She turned and fixed him with a rare and radiant smile. “It is an artist’s place also. You will like it, I think.”“When?” Adam felt a surge of anticipation.Madeleine shrugged slightly.“You must finish Papa’s painting. Then we go to Montparnasse,” was all she saidbefore getting up.“Bonsoir, Adam,” she said over her shoulder as she made her way back to the house,leaving him with a feeling somewhere between delight and uncertainty.He met Rhuari as he made his way back to his lodgings.“You look very pleased with yourself.” His friend fell into step beside him.“Had a great night down at Georges’s place.”“Tell all.” Rhuari sat down on a low wall and looked expectant.As they talked, Adam enthused about Montmartre.“I could live here,” he said reflectively. “It’s a place where I have everything I need. There are no barriers, no rules. And I can make a living doing what I want to do. I’ve made friends, French friends, who accept me. I could fit in just fine here …”His voice tailed off as he became lost in thought.Rhuari eased himself off the wall, his face serious.“I’m like you, Adam, I love this place. But I won’t stay.” He hesitated as if searching for the right words. “It’s easy to fall in love with an image of your own making. It’s like a jigsaw. Some of the bits don’t fit, but if you push them hard enough, you think you’ve solved the puzzle. But then, you look again at the picture, and it’s all wrong.”He clapped Adam on the shoulder.“Don’t get bewitched.”They had reached their lodgings. Their landlady opened the gate and glared at the two of them.“And don’t get locked out!” was Rhuari’s parting shot.Inside, Adam threw himself down on the bed in his darkened room, turning his friend’s words over in his mind.Was Rhuari right? Could sensible, driven Adam Gray be in love with an illusion, running ahead of the pain which had followed him all the way here that pain he had tried to shake off, but which gnawed at him in unguarded moments?He closed his eyes, knowing that, if he dreamed, he would be sitting on the riverbank at Abbeylands, his arms round the girl with the silver-blonde hair and the clear, grey-eyed gaze.Always, she waited for him in his dreams.“Constance.” He breathed her name as sleep overtook him.


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