I pulled into the parking lot of the Goodwill in the middle of the afternoon. I found a shady spot near the entrance—coveted parking in a Phoenix summer. I hopped out the car with a victorious swagger. There was a woman standing by her car in the space in front of mine, having what sounded like a heated dispute on her phone. She had a British accent, so to my American ears, she sounded pissed but polite.
As I turned to go inside, she halted her conversation and addressed me, “Excuse me, sir, might you have a pair of jumper cables?” I told her I did and headed to my trunk.
“Thank you so much. I rented this car in L.A. yesterday, and the damn battery died. Can you believe it?” She was visibly flustered. I made a comment about Arizona heat killing batteries and just about regretted it.
“Well I can understand that, but I haven’t been here a day. This is just gross negligence by the rental company, isn’t it?” I nodded in agreement, not wanting to linger on the topic. She was fired up, and I was trying to hold on to my parking joy. I hooked up the cables in silence.
She told me she had been on the phone with the rental company. They said they would send someone, but it would be at least an hour, and it may be quicker if she could get a jump. Then she could head to the nearest branch, and they would replace the battery, “I’m just glad you showed up. Who knows how long I might have had to wait,” She said.
“Well I’m glad I could help. What brings you to Arizona anyway?” I asked, trying to change the subject.
“I’m on my way to New Mexico.”
“What’s in New Mexico, if you don’t mind my asking?”
“Not at all. I’m doing some sight-seeing—the White Sand Desert, Santa Fe…” She paused, “It’s actually a bit of a pilgrimage, if you’re truly interested.”
I love the word, pilgrimage. I’ve found people don’t typically make pilgrimages for boring reasons. I told her so and started my car. She went around and started her car, successfully. “Have you heard of Rapture Falls?” She asked. I told her I had not. “Well, supposedly, it’s a waterfall that doesn’t create a splash,” she explained.
“You mean, like a painting, or an actual waterfall?” I have an unfortunate habit of being facetious with strangers. It’s rude. Fortunately, she had a sense of humor.
“It sounds impossible, I know.”
“It is impossible, you know?” We both laughed; “But really, I’m interested. What’s the story on Rapture Falls? I feel like I should know about it. I grew up in this region. It sounds like it would be a popular attraction. It’s weird I’ve never heard of it.”
“It’s not on any maps. No one seems to know where it is, or even if it truly exists,” She said.
“So, it’s a like a myth?”
“It is exactly like a myth, yes,” she explained. “Apparently, because the waterfall doesn’t splash, it creates an optical illusion. If you look long enough, it appears to be flowing up. They say, when that happens, you go up with it—you ascend.”
“Ah…hence, the name, ‘Rapture Falls’”
“Exactly. And that’s how it stays a secret.”
“Is that why you’re going? To be raptured?”
She twisted her mouth to the side and shrugged. Her silent, non-committal response caught me off guard. I was worried the conversation may be taking a dark turn. She must have read the concern in my face, because she grinned and let out a light chuckle. “I don’t know. I’m really just an adventurer.” She made a rainbow with her hands, “A seeker of wonders. The journey is fun, but actually finding something as fantastic as a splash-less waterfall—well that’s worth the risk of rapture to me.”
I nodded in silence for a moment before asking, “You really believe it exists?”
“What? The waterfall? Or rapture?”
“Um…either, I suppose.”
“Rapture? Who knows? But I hope the waterfall does. In either case, I intend to find out.”
“Hmm. Well, best of luck. I hope you find it.”
She thought about it for a second and said, “Give me your number. I’ll let you know how it goes.”
I Chuckled, “Well if you find it, I may not hear from you, right?”
“Oh, true! Possibly not, but if I do find it, and I don’t get raptured, I can let you know—and tell you how to find it.”
I couldn’t argue the logic, and I was fascinated—perhaps more by her than her story. I liked her. I gave her my number. I never did hear from her. I imagine she never intended to contact me. Maybe the whole story was fabricated. Maybe she has a habit of fooling with strangers. That would be rude, but interesting at least.
Anyhow, I think about her sometimes. Maybe she found it. I hope she did.