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When two rainbows meet

A short story | By David Hansen | Feb. 8, 2011

Jon was not a poet but he thought like one. Unfortunately, he never said the words out loud that came easily to him in the normalcy of his life. So when he entered the bank wet from a summer shower, he was distracted as he reached the counter but then saw an attractive teller in front of him, Brooke, and thought: I want to make the rain sing your name.

“Sir?” she said, puzzled by his silence.

He stood there gazing as water dripped on the counter.

“Sir, can I help you?”

For Jon these surreal, slow-moving moments were natural. He always felt people did not value the true pace and opportunity of time; instead, they tried to manipulate and maximize time, tarnishing its simplicity.

I want to bend a rainbow from my heart to yours.

She wondered if there were going to be a problem.

“I’m sorry,” Jon said. “I’d like to make a deposit.” He handed her wet money.

As Jon left the bank, he became frustrated and sullen. Why didn’t he say something normal to the teller – something witty and graceful that would have melted her veneer? He sat on the street curb, regretting his ineptness. Turning, he saw her inside.

How can I love without your voice inside my heart?

He looked back to the street. The rain had stopped, and he noticed in the pavement’s reflection a pale, upside-down rainbow. He did not look up.

Meanwhile, back in the bank, Sara knew she would not have the patience for what was about to happen. For her, patience should be reserved for neurosurgery, chess and sex – not trying to get a small business loan. She wanted to start a self-help website, one proving that positive thinking can change the world.

“You are like a perfect human ‘no,’” she said to the bank’s financial adviser, “a black hole of commerce sucking the energy out of life and capitalism. You are a colorless rainbow of ‘no.’”

“I’m sorry you feel that way, ma’am,” the adviser said, believing he should call security.

“I’m not a ma’am,” Sara said. “I’m a libertarian.”

The adviser said nothing. Sara stared back. She let the silence accentuate her black mascara, which she fondly remembered from this morning looked like perfect drop shadows.

“You simply do not have enough collateral; you need more money,” he said.

Sara’s eyes narrowed: “Of course I need more money, you dirt clod, that’s why I’m here!”

She stood up theatrically, knowing she was defeated, but she couldn’t resist one last dig. “I hope you know that you have lost yet another part of your squalid soul. Good luck changing the world without me.”

The adviser was relieved when she walked away. He picked up the phone even though he didn’t have anyone to call.

Sara stopped when she got outside and admired the rainbow in the sky. “It’s like a Popsicle variety pack without the sticky mess,” she said aloud.

“Excuse me?” Jon asked from the curb, looking up.

Sara hadn’t seen him and peered down, frowning. “What are you doing there, like a forlorn sack of good intentions?”

Jon stared at her. She resembled a pin-up doll without the fake glamour, pulled together in a smart, polyester way, with jet black hair, straight bangs and an odd tattoo on her ankle. Her shoes were orange plastic and seemed to smell like apples.

You are like a dewy mint tulip in the desert of my soul.

Sara knew he was thinking of something. She could see the wheels turning.

“What? What are you thinking?” she asked.

“I was just admiring your shoes,” Jon said.

“No, you were thinking of something.” Sara pointed at Jon’s eyes with two fingers, forming a “V.”

“You … were … thinking … of … something,” she said. “And I want to know what.”

Jon stared at her. He realized he wasn’t afraid. Oddly enough, she seemed edible.

“I was thinking: ‘You are like a dewy mint tulip in the desert of my soul.’”

Sara looked at him blankly, then allowed herself a small, wan smile.

“Why didn’t you just say it the first time?” she asked.

Jon turned away and looked at the upside-down rainbow on the street; it now seemed brighter and three dimensional. He looked up into the sky and squinted.

“Because I’ve never had a good reason before.”

Sara considered his words for a few seconds, then sat down next to him.

She sighed. And they sat in silence looking at the rainbow.

©Copyright 2011. David Hansen