Last time it poured, I decided to jump into my car and drive to follow the rainbow. The big colourful curve in the sky was like a beacon of goodwill for me. I followed it with the zealous of a six-year-old. I drove past cars, houses, tall buildings and shops on its trail. I braved huge pools of water on uneven roads and even took a few risks when my car skidded sideways because I was not paying attention on the highway.
When I reached a cross road, I had to make my mind which way to take. I decided to leave the highway and drove up the mountains where I could have an unobstructed view of the rainbow.
By the time I got up there, the rain had stopped. I took out a folded chair and sat looking at the horizon. I wished I had taken tea and biscuits with me so I could enjoy the view better.
I must have seen the rainbow a countless of times but I never noticed millions of shimmering dots on the face of it until that afternoon. I also saw the haze rising towards it from the grey hills making the rainbow look like a phantom of colours.
I sat there long enough to see a dark cloud moving across the face of the rainbow to completely obscure it. I thought it was curtain time and I made my move to fold the chair to get it back in the car.
But I stopped when another spectacle in the sky forced my attention. Crackling of lights shot out between two dark clouds as they moved close towards each other. A deafening clap of thunder made me drop the chair. The sky lit up momentarily to reveal spectacular silver linings between smaller clouds around the two big ones.
I rammed the legs of the chairs on the rocky ground and sat back. It was at that moment I realised the sky was a never-ending exhibition. When the two clouds moved away from each other, the sun poked its head. But the air was so drenched with water droplets and fog, the sunlight was reduced to a shimmering rather than eye-piecing intensity.
The cool environment of the winter coupled with the strange radiance of the sunshine, threw shadows of crimson on the land below the mountains. But that did not last long because the sunlight lost the battle and the fog claimed victory to reduce the visibility.
From where I sat, I could also see a string of cars on the highway coming to a slowdown. All the cars had their lights on though it was only just after 3 in the afternoon.
It was also starting to get colder up there. I stored away the chair and started driving down. I had no choice but to join the long queue of cars that were moving at a snail’s pace. The rainbow was long gone by the time and I made it home.
However, for the first time in many years, my adventure of tracking down the rainbow was worthwhile. The wife demanded to know where I had been all the time and why my feet were muddy. When I told her how I spent the afternoon, all she could ask was, “Aren’t you a little older to be fascinated by rainbows?”
I thought not to come to my defence and let it go. Women would not understand that sometimes a man needs to recapture the spirit of his youth.
Saleh al Shaibany