The rainbow

It is an unusually hot day at the beginning of summer.A woman looks out of the window and into the sky.She can see a few dark clouds looming on the horizon.She thinks the thundershowers are welcome as they would bring down the temperature by a few degrees.

The doorbell rings.She is a bit surprised to see a man standing there.

“What brings you here now?”

“It’s the weather.I’ve been having a field day”,he laughs at his own stupid joke,”I hope I have not stepped in at the wrong time”.

“Why do you say things like that?You’re not a guest!”

“Probably not.But maybe I am”,he thinks.His thoughts are interrupted by a flash of lightning followed by a deafening clap of thunder.He looks out of the window.It begins to rain cats and dogs.

“Where is Felix?”

“The furry fellow must be curled up somewhere.He doesn’t like the rain”.

He hears a different kind of noise now.One that he does not like to hear.It is the high-pitched sound of a siren.He looks at the road.He sees an ambulance coming that way.He concentrates on it.The woman is worried.

She fetches him a glass of water.”Here,take this.It should cool you down a bit”.

“Thanks”,he takes the glass,still concentrating on the white van.

It is now close enough for him to look at the windows of the vehicle.They are tinted with the darkest shade of film,so that no one can look inside.But the man can look right through them.He can see what is happening inside.A young boy is lying down on the stretcher.His face is very pale.He is in his school uniform.But the man cannot make out the colours of the uniform.Because it is covered with splashes of red.Blood!

Two paramedics are working frantically.They are doing their best to stabilise the condition of the boy as the van speeds along the road with its siren blaring.

The man’s eyes shift to the small monitor next to the boy.He sees a continous wave.The wave begins to lose its strength slowly.The paramedics are working as hard as possible,whispering a few words to each other.They seem to be the words of a prayer rather than medical terms.The wave loses its strength.As the van passes by the window,it becomes a flat line.

“NNNOOOOOO”,without knowing what he is doing,he smashes the glass in his hand against the wall.It shatters,spilling the water all over.

The woman is stunned.”You’ve hurt yourself”,she says with serious concern as she looks at his hand.She sees a cut as blood begins to fill the line created by a piece of broken glass.

“Oh!Don’t worry.It’s not a big thing”.

He walks away from the window,grabs a bottle of cold water,opens it and pours it on his wound.The cold water has a miraculous effect.The blood stops flowing.He splashes some water on his face.It cools down his mind.He then drinks the rest of the water in one gulp.It cools down his soul.

He takes a mop and some old newspaper.

“Let me do it”,the woman tries to insist.

“No,I caused the mess,and I’ll clean it up”.

He removes the broken pieces of glass and wraps them in several layers of newspaper before putting it into the waste paper basket.He mops up the water and puts the mop in its place.

He sits down,looking as cheerful as he was when he stepped in.

The woman too sits down.She looks at the man.She thought she knew him.She knew him from the time he stepped out into the world.That was the only time she managed a smile when he cried.After that,everytime he cried,she was worried.But as he grew up,the number of times he cried came down drastically.Now she was not sure if he cried at all but atleast she could not see him cry.But she was even more worried because the tears were replaced by something that caused her more concern.She did not know exactly what it was but she thought it was anger.If it was anger,then it was just one letter short of danger.

“I thought I knew you”,she wondered aloud.

“Maybe you do . . . maybe you don’t . . . what is known is a drop,what is unknown is an ocean.I am really sorry for breaking the glass like that.I know I should not have done it.But sometimes I don’t know what makes me do certain things.I should not have shocked you like that,I apologise”.

“I am not worried about that.I am worried about you”.

“Oh!I’m feeling fine!There is nothing to worry about me!”

He looks at the clock.”It’s time for me to leave”.

As he walks out of the door,he turns back to look at the woman.She still has that look of concern on her face.He grasps her hand very gently and looks into her eyes.He could see them filling up with tears.She tries to hide the tears by looking away.

“Tears are not good”,he says softly,”they can prevent us from looking at what we need to see”.

“You’re probably right.Take care.Watch out for unpleasant surprises while you are on the road”.

“I will,I promise.Bye for now”.

As he walks out,he looks at the sky.The rain has stopped completely now.He could see a brilliant rainbow in the sky.

There was always something about the rainbow that he did not understand.He simply could not complete this sentence about the seven-coloured arc :

What is seen is a rainbow,what is unseen is . . . . . . .

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