As my husband reminded me after reading this piece, rainbows are cheesy. Yep! I get it. So here's how this short story came about. Maybe it'll soften the cheese blow. A few months ago my oldest daughter, Jane, was looking at a map while I drove. She was pretending we were on an adventure! Maggie and I were totally on board. And the one thing she wanted to find on our adventure was a rainbow! Guys, she's five. And we needed to find that rainbow. In the end, this story ended up much more somber than how it was inspired.
Taste the Rainbow
I slip my hand into the spectrum of light. It’s nearly too hot to touch, but I resist the urge to pull away. Dust particles float in and out of the array of colors. They’re tiny. I shouldn’t be able to feel them, but I do. They collide with my palm. I taste the feeling on my tongue. How strange.
“It’s beautiful isn’t it? But you shouldn’t touch it.” A man’s voice startles me, and I hastily pull my hand from the light. I turn to face him. Light brown skin the same color as my morning coffee. He looks familiar, but I can’t remember where I’ve seen him before.
“Of course it’s beautiful. It’s a rainbow.” I bite down on my lip, and step forward, wanting to bathe in the colors. I expect to feel like I’m submerged in a hot tub. Instead, I’m bombarded by the dust particles pressing in on me. My mouth is flooded with the taste of something smooth and warm. I step back, unsure if the sensation is enjoyable.
“The dust. I can taste the . . . feel of it. Why do you think that is?” I ask the man. He seems like he would know.
“Your brain is trying to make sense of the vibrations.”
“Oh. . . .” Whatever that means.
He steps forward, and the swirling particles gravitate in his direction. I slip my hand back into the rainbow, and his brow contracts.
“You really shouldn’t touch it anymore.” I look over my shoulder at him, but don’t retract my hand. Gradually my skin grows hotter as the particles seem to scramble to reach the man. He takes another step closer, and the colors blaze bright. My hand is singed with an explosion of heat.
“Ouch!” I yell and pull away. Bright red and white boils spring up across my skin. My hand starts to tremble, and a tear leaks from my eye.
“I can help with that.”
“Help?” I say in annoyance. “It’s your fault this happened. Didn’t you see the way the dust acted when you got too close?” With my free hand, I search my pockets for something to use as a bandage––a tissue maybe? But I have nothing.
“That’s true, and I am responsible in more ways than you know. But I can still help.” Without asking, he takes my fingers in his rough hands. I try to pull away, but it hurts too much. One of the boils ruptures, and puss drips onto my shoe. A second later the boils are gone. My hand is just the way it was before.
“What did you . . .” I flip my hand over to find nothing but healthy-looking skin. He shrugs when I look up. “Thanks, I guess. So how else is it your fault?”
“For one thing, I made this.” He motions to the spectrum, and the particles skitter in excitement.
“Well why did you make it so hot? Someone else is going to get hurt. Did you think of that beforehand?”
He folds his arms across his chest, but his expression remains open. Kind even. “I told you not to touch it, remember?”
I drop my eyes to the ground. “Why are you here? Do you need to check up on all your rainbows?”
He chuckles. “I was checking up on you actually.”
I look up, my brow knit tight. “Oh yeah?”
He looks at the rainbow thoughtfully. “I just wanted to remind you that I always keep my promises.”
I huff and turn away. Against my will, my throat tightens and my eyes water. “Well you’re the only one then.” I don’t turn back to see his reaction.
“Yeah. I am the only one.”
"And God said, 'This is the sign of the covenant I am making between Me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all future generations: I have placed My bow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. Whenever I form clouds over the earth and the bow appears in the clouds, I will remember My covenant between Me and you and all the living creatures: water will never again become a flood to destroy every creature. The bow will be in the clouds, and I will look at it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all the living creatures on earth.' God said to Noah, 'This is the sign of the covenant that I have confirmed between Me and every creature on earth.' Genesis 9:12-17