Written by Jia Zhang
And so, a fantastical tragedy ends with an utmost painful closing of red velvet curtains, and the dimming of lights of that particularly dazzling grand theatre of jesters and balloons concludes this ridiculous show of Shakespearean farce. Here we are, the beholders of this queer legend, this wonderfully mad love story—we, who are the wingless spectators, gazing up unto a stage of players in gem-like costumes with marble features; they are the whispers of our dreams, our most hidden and sacrosanct imaginations, and we, in our plush seats of crimson fabric, our brains all combusted and pigmented by that most ludicrous performance, cannot help but make rivers of tears.
We did not receive on a silver platter our fairy-tale ending, because we always imagine the structure of this mundane everyday life to be as preciously perfect as that brilliant tragedy upon on that world stage. Someone, somewhere, some day (that was not recorded) said this—all the world's a stage for a fantastic tragedy to be preformed in a fic act play. It was a certain play on words of the phrase of a great writer's sonata sonnet, but it carries much of weight. We expect everything to end in that most cliché hero's arc, because it makes life so much more predictable and safe—but it is never like that. The knight is always too late to save the damsel, and the princess was never quite as innocent as one perceived, and all the while we believe the prince to be so pure of heart, but all he's got is his own agendas.
Ha. We all play this farcical game of perpetual pretend, spinning into motion this inordinately predictable inertia; but in the end, this cruel veracity is what embraces us so feverishly.
We cannot escape that mounting and ever so potent, ever so dazzling and mystifying tragedy—for it is in humanity to be tragic, to be farcical and ever, ever so pathetic. Tragedy is immortal, after all—it transcends time and all the ages of arts, because we love it as much as it makes us weep.
And so, all that is left is for reality to amuse itself in our pity, because reality does not offer any comfort. It is a cold, absolutely cruel teacher.
And in a far away place, there is a weeping child, who watches all the angels consorting with the cherubs up in a glossy ceiling sky, who weeps for the lost, buried arcane arts of some queer naissance, who shares an undeniable immortality in this perverse, tragic love story.
That, dear reader, is the ending I leave you.
"…that, dear reader, is the ending I leave you."
They were alone, two figures drenched in élan ebony, standing on a mounted hill of opulent emerald, buried deep amid the vale of a charming little mortuary. All around were the sepulcher of those who loved and were loved once upon a midsummer's night, but were now austerely sharing a dwelling with worms between the cake-layers of soil six feet under. The ghosts of this peculiar cemetery watched them in absolute fascination, this boy and this girl—amethyst and amber, shadowing one another—whether or not they perceived the vigilant gaze of these impalpable, translucent specters is a mystery to all others but them and those most formidable spirits. Their eyes were paralleled to one another, mirroring this bizarre reflection in their precious stones—they were silent, not unsure of what they should speak of in this most humble home of the expired; no, they were emphatically basking in each other's presence—this boy and this girl.
He was a beautiful boy of no older than fifteen rotations of a little blue planet; his eyes were made of lush, amethyst gems, glinting a divine hue of violet underneath the intoxicating rays of the bright orb of the Sky. His skin was a clear, soft alabaster, and smooth like the petals of a tulip, and his cheeks hinted of a sweet, summertime rose—he was darling flower child. His hair was a glossy black, dark as the deepest bowels of the universe, and glistened more spectacularly than all the be-jeweled stars. His small frame was covered in clean, black fabric—a simple suit and simple tie. He gazed at the other with a mild curiousity, not of confusion or sudden astonishment—just a cat's curious gaze. In his arms, he carried a mountain of white lilies.
She was a charming young woman, in the prime of her ageless youth. She held eyes of a dazzling gold—amber when lit by flames of fire or a secret luminosity; glittering and sparkling of a devious and jester nature. Her skin was appropriately tanned, glowing and soft as porcelain, and her lips was the tender pink of a flower's bud. Her hair was the alluring colour of the ocean, long and flowing like water, tied in unchildishly childish dual ponytails. She wore an enticing little black dress, with the hem of the costume touching the smooth skin of her thigh. It was fashioned in an old, Victorian panache, with a black shirt, and an elegant ebony corset coupled around her waist and bosom. She peered at the boy before her with a mild sardonic grin, waiting, waiting, with a Mad Hatter's allure.
Together, they stood beneath a verdant, green Maple tree, and at the base of its fingered-roots a cool, marble tombstone was entrenched in the emerald of the grass. They stood, waiting, quite, quivering in the silence.
"That, dear reader, is the ending I leave you," speaks the woman. She smiles. "Very interesting ending, Ritsuka-kun."
The boy remains silent, before turning back to the graven catacomb in the earth.
"What brings you here, Nagisa-san?"
She smiles a little smile, a devious, foxy smile that told nothing and everything in volumes.
"Something of the other."
"Here to greet the dead?"
She laughs. "Rather, taunt the dead."
The boy says nothing.
"I'm here to see my old love and enemy in his domicile with worms and maggots. I'm sure he'd sent you his greetings, Ritsuka, love."
The boy says nothing.
The woman continues. "I finished this little novella of yours just this morning. I quite enjoyed it. A remarkable little Shakespearean tragedy in a new-century world. I liked your narrator—he was most…admirable. Was he based on real life? I shudder to hope so."
"I'm glad you enjoyed it."
"Oh! Darling! I enjoyed it more than you can imagine, dear Ritsuka-kun. A little bias on your part and my part, of course, so there is a variation of opinion on certain…plot twists in your extravagant little story, but nonetheless, love, it was very, very good." She smiles that Mad Hatter's smile. "Now what possibly could have spurned that piece of…fiction? Hmmm?" She is absolute in her sarcasm.
The boy says nothing. His amethyst eyes were focused solely on the marble piece of eternal stone—he was silent, unsure, yet sure of what he should say and needed to say, not to absolve and apologize to this man eaten up by Earth, but to emancipate his own most tortured spirit. There was much he needed to repent—in order to escape from a dilapidated and outdated Hellish imprisonment, he did all he had to do, and hurt many along the way, and forced some to depart into the Heavens before their time. And he did regret, this boy, regret so much in his heart of things he had so carelessly done—for he was scared, so very scared, of being trapped by that monstrous and blasphemous House of lies. When he formulated this devious plan, he had no recognition of the anguish and misery he would inflict upon all those he loved. He was a foolish child, he divulged, an imprudent and ever so selfish child of sinful beauty, who masqueraded as an altruistic saint with amethyst jewels for eyes. He pretended, and soon the mask became all too much another layer to his skin—his most outer self of fabrication became his strange inner veracity—he had become a mime with a painted facade of black and white.
He had done too much harm—he had things he had to say.
He had so much to say, but his voice would not formulate the words he wanted spoken.
"So quiet, too quiet," quipped the woman.
He did not want her here—of all people!
"Why did you do it? Trick and charm so many, leading them inside this womb of lies, and destroying them all to alleviate your selfish desires?" she spoke condescendingly. "So many things are your fault…I'm not even sure where I should begin."
"Are you just here to reprimand me?" spoke the boy.
She pauses for moment. "No. As I've said before, I'm here to visit a friend."
"Everything I speak is true, except for the lies." A Cheshire cat grin sparkles on her lovely features, but it slowly frays away into obscurity. She drowns into a murky hush; the air was thick of this bleeding silence. "Why did you write that novel, Ritsuka? For the love of God! You could've let it end! All that simple, but you drone it on and on, like some silly child playing a silly game! It's not a game!" She curses angrily and cynically, whisperingly, her voice barely audible.
"Do you hate me?"
She glares at his small back. "Of course not. I wouldn't hate you. I'm annoyed, but I don't hate you. God knows Ritsu deserved everything that happened to him. But—" She curses again, her breath low and haunting. "You selfish, little brat."
"Why are you apologizing to me? Two dead men are lying at your footsteps; they are whom you should be apologizing to, not me, love; I don't care for all that nonsense about redemption and repentance and forgiveness. Bullshit. I'll never forgive Ritsu, that bastard. As much as I love, I hate him, I loathe him, I adore him, and I am absolutely repulsed by him. He meant everything, and I couldn't stand him." She brings a hand up to her cheek and grins most artfully. "A paradox is our relation to one another." She gazes at the boy before her, whom solemnly stood before that rock of marble perfection. "Do you love him? Did you ever love him?"
She watched the boy nod.
"You did a cruel thing, you did."
"Makes me wonder why he loves you."
"He probably loves you for what he believe to be an innocent boy, a beautifully innocent boy, but oh, men in love are often the most easily deceived." She smiled contemptuously. "And you are such a brilliant liar—you take after your mother more than you know, not just in looks."
The boy is silent.
She laughs. "Did I offend thee, fair Juliet?" She laughs a serpent's laugh. "Goodness, goodness, I am being a bit crude. I've completely gone off on a tangent. But of course, I did not come here just to visit that damned and brilliant love of mine in his gracious grave." She grins shrewdly. "…that, my dear reader, is the ending I leave you. Now why in the bloody hell did you write that?"
The boy is silent
"…I read it in a place once. My brother's journals. It was his last. He wrote a fascinating tale of truth and lies, and hands and maids, and all the dark things I grew up with but could not word into sentences and make real because I feared it too much. They meant a lot to me. They changed me…in a way I shall never quite understand. I love my brother; I love him dearly—but I also despise him, for transforming me into this person. Sometimes, I think I hate him as much as I did my mother, but those thoughts are always brief, and never lingering. What he wrote, what he told, to no one, not me, or the world—it changed me. Perhaps it was then that I formulated this design to escape from that damned House. It was all I could do, to do what he never could, to do what I wanted but couldn't understand. I am thankful to him for that. I hate what I did, but I did it, and I do not regret it and would not alter any of the actions I took. It was all I could to escape from that place. It was as much of a gift—this queer little novel of mind—for my brother as it was for him. I think he began to revert me. Little by little, but not enough."
Slowly, gingerly, the boy placed the bed of white lilies onto the skin of the stone monument beneath the everlasting green tree.
"I'm sorry," he whispered at last, to the grave, to the tree, to man lying six feet under, whom he loved, and whom he hated.
The woman smiled, shaking her aquatic head in humorous jest. It was all too funny. "You silly little boy," she laughed honestly. "He's waiting for you by the car. You should meet him."
The boy turns to her, his bright amethyst eyes glittering under the luminosity of the blazing star in the sky. "And you, Nagisa-san?"
"I'll stay a little," she smiled. "I'll talk to you soon, Ritsuka-kun."
The boy gave a petite smile, and went on his way, past the hills of green, past all the ghosts and specters, and all the shadows and dark things, and all those little unheard secrets of the damned and forgotten. He leaves behind a name he never loved, a House that burned to cinders, a responsibility that decayed into ruins, and the memoirs of a un-fairytale childhood. He leaves behind all the things he did, and all the things he will ever do. He leaves behind a ploy, and its successes. He leaves behind all the things that made him a lie, and he walks into the Sun, into the light and away from all the shadowy closets of his childhood. And so, he leaves behind all the things he ever feared.
The woman watched as that bright, brilliant, beautiful child frayed from her view; she turned to the grave stone, and smiled at the man sleeping under the six layers of soil, in his gracious house with the worms.
Beloved son, brother and friend
"Look at this tangle of thorns."
The woman laughed and smiled, as she looked upon the sepulcher of her most favourite and expired acquaintance, the one she was most analogous to. The trees sung with the wind, and the clouds shaded all the light from that bright crystal in the obscured blue of the sky.
"Vous maîtrisez le marionnettiste."
She giggled sardonically as she departed from the evergreen of the grass, and the gray hues of marble. She departed from the tranquility of the cemetery, and never once looked back. It was all that it was supposed to be.
You master puppeteer.
And that, dear reader, is the ending I leave you.
(sobs) Oh my god. Lolita is finished. (lies un top of her keyboard and cries) When I started working on this project back in August, I never expected it to turn out like this. (cries) Lolita has been one of the most challenging and joyful fics (or story in general) that I have ever written. I had a blast writing it, and I hope all the readers enjoyed my little tragic farce.
With this epilogue…Lolita is complete. (cries) I have never enjoyed writing a fic as much as I did Lolita. After months of tiresome work and complaining, it is finally complete. Still got questions, unclear or unanswered? Ask away. I'll try my best to answer them.
I purposely made this chapter extremely vague, because I wanted to allow you room to think about the ending in your own ways. Concisely, this takes place a few years after Ritsuka "shot Soubi"—here, he is actually visiting Seimei's grave and not Soubi's, 'cause Soubi is well and alive. He is the man waiting at car. I couldn't let Soubi die. I really couldn't.
Also, once again, not very obvious (at least I think it isn't) is the fact that everything that happened in the five acts were secretly part of Ritsuka's plan to get out of the House, to completely destroy the Aoyagi name. By killing Ritsu, Ritsuka essentially destroys the only thing that could really keep him at the Aoyagi House, because Ritsu knew all that House's secrets; and by shooting Soubi, Ritsuka incapacitates Soubi so that he wouldn't be able to do anything, allowing Ritsuka the opportunity, with Nagisa as a "guardian", to destroy that House and the Aoyagi name. Of course, Soubi did not die, so when he woke up, obviously he would have realized what Ritsuka did, which is why Nagisa wonders "why he loves" Ritsuka (present tense!).
However, only Nagisa knows that everything was actually a ploy by Seimei to save his brother (she's like Katsuko, a friend of Ritsu and Mrs. Aoyagi). That's why she calls him the "master puppeteer", because it was Seimei's diary that changed Ritsuka (reading about all the evil things his mother had done and et cetera), and it was also Seimei's will that forced Soubi to take care of Ritsuka, and thus force them into that entrapment he made. (Nagisa-sensei is also the personification of Vivian Darkbloom in Lolita, who kinda had a thing with Quilty, Ritsu's mirror in Lolita the novel.)
(cries) That…doesn't make sense! (cries)
Oh well…it's done; it's over. I'm glad. Any questions, confusions, flames (ouchies), or suggestions? Ask away!
Note: the opening of this epilogue was actually intended for the ending of Act V.
I would like to dedicate this to my long time friend, editor, muse and idol, "Tsubasa", and her newborn son, Jacob(born the morning ofFebruary 14, 2006). Tsubasa-neechan, if it were not you, I would not love writing the way I do, and I would not be the person I am today. Congrats on your baby. (glomps)
To all my readers, I thank you all—for you patience, kind words, and your support. Without you, Lolita would not have turned out as one of my best stories.
© February 14, 2006 by Jia Zhang. All rights reserved.