There was a beautiful rainbow in the park when I went there. The green grass was damp with the raindrops kissing it, and the sky was blue again. Well, not so blue. It went from blue to a pale, burning orange at the horizon where the sun was setting between the skyscrapers.
The park was almost full. It was like the entire neighborhood had been waiting for the deluge to stop. The little girls had already huddled near the two swings and were taking turns, though there were tantrums when the one on the swing took a little too much time. The boys, almost predictably, had taken over the monkey bars, and two of them were now upside down, but talking away joyously. I laughed, remembering my own childhood. Neither the swings the monkey bars attracted me that much. For me it was that building block, almost pyramid like multicolored structure, which about a dozen children had now occupied, trying to climb from the bottom to the top.
“It’s so crowded today.”
The voice is laced with a tinge of sadness, and I see her eyes cast gloomily on the swings. I can feel for her. It is all that she has wanted to do all day. I know, because the family hadn’t heard the end of it. Even when the rain had started, it was all she had wanted, as she had stared out the window toward the park in the distance. The park, and the swings… the swings and the park… that was all that had come from the quite bubbly little darling who was now holding on to my finger.
I took her to one of the empty benches around the park, and sat down with her.
“Tell you what though, let’s play a game to pass the time while we wait. You ask me any question you want, and I’ll answer it for you. Would you like that?”
She wasn’t that sure, but she was as curious as a kitten and that got the better of her in the end.
“Why is the sky blue?”
I laughed, and pinched her nose.
“The sky is blue, my darling, because your eyes are blue. The sky loves your eyes so much; it decided it wanted to be blue too.”
She wasn’t convinced.
“Then why does it turn black at night?”
“Well, it loves your long hair too. Since you close your eyes at night and go to sleep, it takes the color of your hair.”
“Is that why the blue sky has clouds? Because my eyes have white too?”
I smiled back and gave her a high five.
“You got it. The sky loves you a lot, but I love you more.”
She looked happy, but I could still see her eyes glance at the swings.
“Well come on now, you can’t stop asking questions. I’ll become sad then.”
She perked up immediately.
“Why does the rainbow have seven colors?”
I thought for a moment.
“There’s a little girl in the sky, who’s trying on lots of pretty frocks. When she puts a frock on the cloud, a color comes. She has frocks in seven colors.”
“Like me, like me,” she said, all excited. She loved her little frilly frocks, and I had, over the years, got her one in almost every color I could find. She was the princess of my life, and I pampered her endlessly.
“Yes, like you.”
She sat thinking of her next question, patting her button nose as she did only when she was thinking.
“Why is the grass green? And the rose red?”
She was obsessed with colors today. When she caught on to a topic, she didn’t let it go.
“Well, I don’t know this one, honey. How about giving me another question?”
“It’s okay, daddy. The grass is green because it is sick of drinking water all day, and the rose is angry seeing the grass always sick, so it is red.”
God bless her, she has an answer for everything, even when I don’t.
“Okay daddy, why is the moon white, and not orange like the sun?”
I thought she’d change her color questioning, but there she was, back on the prowl. I laughed, and she laughed back, that carefree, tinkling laughter that got everyone around her smiling, always.
“Well, all colors love each other, but black and white loved each other so much, that they got married. So when black took night as its own, white took the moon, so it could always be with black. Like a perfect couple.”
She clapped, and jumped to her feet, on the bench, forgetting there were a lot of people watching her. Then she looked at me, and I could see the words coming. It was there in her eyes.
“Like you and Mommy,” she said firmly, and smiled. She didn’t let me to speak, but asked another question.
“Why do the stars twinkle?”
“There are a lot of angels in the night sky, my darling. When they blink, the stars twinkle.”
She wasn’t convinced again.
“But why are they up there, and not here, with me?”
“Ah, they do come down here, my darling. They are sent here, so we can take care of them. You are my little angel, right? And your best friend Tina, she’s her daddy’s little angel too.”
“Maybe I should wear white frocks then, daddy. All angels wear white, don’t they?”
I prodded that button nose of hers, and pulled her close.
“No, my kitten… you wear all the colors you love. Only the fairies and angels in the sky must always wear white.”
“Because of the marriage, right Daddy?”
I nodded, smiling. She remembered well.
“But why do you wear all colors, when Mommy can wear only white?”
I was tongue-tied then and there. But I had to answer it. If not now, it would come up again soon, in some other way.
I sat thinking, looking at her. She looked away, and then let out a whoop of delight.
“Daddy, let’s hurry! The swings are free. You can push me. Not too high though… just high enough to touch the rainbow.”
“Wait dear…” I began, but she paid no attention to me, as she dashed off toward the swings.
I knew the answer then. When she is there, my life had the color it missed after my wife passed away. She is there after every storm in my life. She is my life… my rainbow.
(6th Oct, 2013)