The Death Rehearsal by Isabelle Phillippe

I wondered about why our eyes change colors. Climbing up and down the wooden ladder of the ship throughout the night as if between the earth and sky. Sebastian was grounded downstairs. Karsten and I sat on the wooden floor of the mezzanine which had always resembled a birds nest. He smoked joints through the night that sometimes he would pass to me in response to my hand gesture. I never actually smoked them because I was too busy monologuing in spirals trying to get to the bottom of who I really am so he always ended up patiently asking for them back. In the midst of these spiraling thoughts I exclaimed that my father must be some sort of star being… and having the same color changing eyes as his I must have inherited something of the lineage. I wondered if this was the secret that had been weighing on him all this time. All of a sudden things started to click into place. All the gifts that he had left me along the way. The secret box. The dream journal that i had unknowingly filled with clues. The stories he had chosen to read to me at night. Croco my crocodile stuffed animal and the little wooden horse.

In the witching hour as the sun and the moon crossed paths a gust of wind shot through my spine and I knew that my father was crossing over to the other side. I had never been more sure of anything in my life. I was sitting on the floor near the kitchen table as it happened and I looked up at sebastian who was sitting at the table and told him that my father was dying. quickly I gathered symbols for the ceremony that I would have to perform. Time was of great essence so there was no time to be fussy with the selection. I grabbed a 25 cent machine pocket knife with pictures of cowboys and indians hanging from a chain…. a compass… a toy phone… some sort of wooden scifi star badge that used to light up… a piece of light mint green colored moss from a Swedish forest indicating its healthiness…. an alien head from a series of christmas tree decorations that I had once made… my secret box… a miniature metal chair and candle holder…  a key… a turtle shell… an almost see through water color painting of the color blue at dusk with the tall trees blowing in the wind that i had once experienced…. a piece of rolled up bark from a birch tree... A mermaid sitting on a shell that contained water... Some stones... some things to burn… matches from my sisters wedding… a candle and probably some other artifacts that I have forgotten about and I headed for the balcony. The sun was rising as quickly as the time was slipping. I performed the act with complete certainty… arranging the objects quickly and carefully… representing all the pieces of the puzzle that needed to come together in order for him to travel safely to the other side. Sebastian kept watch against the crumbling bamboo fence shaking in the wind in rhythm with his shaking heart. His worst nightmare was taking place before his sleepy eyes. I climbed onto the weathered picnic table and he begged me to come down from there but I payed him no mind… I crouched under the table… I spun around in circles as smoke swirled around and I blew my love with all my might...  feeling my self to be like the cloud man that I had painted earlier that spring… my lungs feeling massive and mighty like they could blow tempests across the largest of oceans... towards a man that I had failed to  love properly.

And then all of a sudden… as suddenly as it had all began… i knew that it was over. sebastian lead my tired body wrapped in a synthetic tiger fur back inside the house where i began to build shrines hidden behind wooden beams and corners of the attic that only children can get to.

Before the noon sun had had the time to hit the rare blue sky I remember being on the receiving end of the phone tracing the patterns in the wooden floor boards with my fingertips. I don’t remember the sound of the voice nor the words that were used but do remember feeling a tremendous relief and disappointment.