I was ten years old. It was summer
. I was bored. I was not able to keep track of the days going by. I waited impatiently for interesting adventures, moments to remember and people to capture with my thoughts. The morning was bright, and there was still dew on the tips of the grass blades. A cool breeze swept over the front porch for it was still early, before the sun had begun to burn the air surrounding me. My sister was up early too, sitting there on the porch with me, reading. She had coerced me into going to the park with her to meet the new boy of the neighborhood.
Reluctantly, I had agreed to meet this boy. I was told he was twelve and was staying with his uncle
. He liked skateboard
ing and basketball
. And comics
, he loved comics
. His uncle's girlfriend and my sister were good friends, so we were brought together because they thought it would be nice if we met each other. I didn't really want to be there, but seeing as how I worshipped the ground my sister walked on, I obliged my self to go for her sake.
Walking under the shade trees and down the pathway I saw him for the first time
. He was on the park bench next to my sister's friend, looking mildly cute with his shag
gy brown hair, slightly covering his ears and gracing his eyebrows, blue eyes full of fire, and his khaki shorts and white t-shirt
He felt he was much too old for swing set
s and merry-go-round
s, so he sat defeated on the park bench, bitter for being forced to come. I mocked him. He got angry. He called me a few names, and I retaliated with the same foolishness. Eventually, he told me that I wasn't as bad as he thought and he gave in to talking to me.
He told me about himself as if he were writing an autobiography.
His name was Duncan
. He was twelve. He was staying with his Uncle Elliot
for the summer. He was smart. He knew about current events, he knew how to skateboard, and he knew how to drive a truck because his grandfather had taught him while he lived on a farm. He was vibrant
. He waited for time to start moving faster, in order to grow up quicker than everyone else. He claimed he was a wild child, but he looked settled enough to me.
He had lost his mother to cancer nearly four years previously
. He had then been shipped off to live with his dad. He only stayed there during the school year. His dad had a problem with the bottle
and couldn't take him much longer than those nine months. So for the three months of summer he was shipped around from relative to relative, with the excuse that his father was making him "worldly." He wasn't even completely sure about the true meaning of that word. At any rate, he had spent the previous summer in Oregon
with his aunt, the summer before that near the Gulf of Mexico
with his ex-step-dad, and the summer before that in Seattle
with the aunt
from Oregon. And he loved to brag about each one of those summers like no one else would ever come close to having an equally amazing experience.
Before his mom died, he had lived with her and his step-dad. He didn't remember much of her except the last couple of years that he had with her. She had called him her rainbow
, and said that he brightened things up for her. She would read to him every night and would take him to the zoo or the movies or basketball games every weekend. Once, when he was six, she had taken him to New York City and they had seen a real live Broadway show
, but as exciting as it all was, it was sort of ruined when she got sick
. Memories like those were bittersweet and usually ended up making him sad, therefore he was only going to tell me about this one time
. He did that to every new friend he met.
Then he laughed and got up like he had not just spent an hour telling me his life story. He sat down on the swings, seemingly forgetting about his predisposition to them earlier, and asked me about myself. I didn't have much to tell him. I felt boring. But I mustered up a few anecdotes and told them hoping to spark some interest. We continued to trade stories and musings until sunset, when my sister had to take me home. Duncan
and I agreed to meet the next day at my house to play basketball.
And so the next day came, and we played ball until sunset, continuing to talk and get to know each other. The day after that found us doing nearly the exact same thing. As well as the day after that and the day after that, until the entire summer had been filled up with memories of Duncan and I playing ball, and him telling stories of his adventures in the forests of Oregon and his trips to the coastline
at the Gulf of Mexico.
On the last day of summer
, he kissed me. It was pure and innocent, just on the cheek. A quick peck and then it was over, but it illuminated the summer evening. I told him that he was now my rainbow.
Ξ Ξ Ξ
Ξ Ξ Ξ
It would be many years before I ever heard anything from him again.
I was eighteen years old
. It was summer
. I was working at a comic book store downtown when I noticed a familiar face come through the door. Duncan. It took him a moment to recognize me as he paid for his purchases, but when he did his blue eyes
lit up. He was staying in town for a few days and we agreed to meet at the old park on his last day in town.
Meeting there seemed nostalgic
, and saying nothing made thoughts of that summer float around inside of our heads. We exchanged the typical updates of our lives. I was working my summer away, waiting impatiently for me to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. He was going to school at a state university
, studying political science
He told me that he had a job lined up in Seattle
as soon as he graduated. He was really looking forward to it. He wasn't seeing anyone, but had just gotten out of a two year relationship. He told me that he thought about me every time he thought about summer
. He had never told anyone after me about his mother calling him her rainbow. It made him happy to know that the rainbow connection
was only shared by his mother, himself, and me. He spoke freely about the emotions that had poured through him that summer. He didn't know what love was
back then but he knew when I called him my rainbow that the most of the sadness he had been feeling after his mom's passing was gone. He thanked me and I thought I saw tears swelling up in his eyes. He had vowed never to forget me. He had missed me
The meeting was over too soon. I had to rush off to work and he had to gas up
his truck before leaving town and heading back to the university. As I walked back to my car underneath the shade trees, I couldn't help but laugh to myself over the thought of calling him my rainbow. He thought I took away the sadness he was feeling, the blue part of his mother's rainbow. No, I thought. I hadn't stolen the blue part of the rainbow at all. I had only made it bigger. He had still missed me.