Brianna’s head is in the clouds, and she’s happy that way until a comment from her art teacher pushes her to change
What are rainbows? People think rainbows are those colorful arched things that fade quickly. Why? Rainbows aren’t always arches. They can be all shapes and sizes. I can see rainbows anytime, everywhere. Whether it’s sunny, cloudy, or snowy, I can see them. Looking at rainbows, being able to decipher them in the atmosphere, is a thing that is very special to me.
I get jerked out of my thoughts by mom’s voice. It’s a sunny afternoon. I was lying on my back, staring up at the sky, as usual.
“We are having dinner in twenty minutes.”
I shook my head, focusing my attention on answering my mom’s voice. “What is it?”
“Chicken and broccoli.”
“Can’t we have pizza and ice cream sundaes?”
I slumped, groaning. The rainbow in the sky shifted into an image of two slices of pizza, their cheese melted and gooey. Next to it was a chocolate-and-vanilla ice cream sundae with a rosy red cherry on top. I moaned. I really couldn’t believe it.
“Stop it!” I cried.
The rainbow morphed into Winnie the Pooh flicking honey at me.
“Ugh! You’re making me even hungrier!”
The rainbow morphed into a smiley face.
Grumbling, I laid my head on the bristly grass. My rainbow persisted. It turned into two puppy dog eyes. I sighed, but slowly my face morphed into a smile. I couldn’t help it. I laughed. No one could make me laugh, except my rainbow. My rainbow understood me and actually made me happy. I wished anyone else did.
None of the kids at school really accepted who I was, and I couldn’t imagine being friends with even one of them. I remembered the whispers and snickers that followed me like a swarm of angry wasps. Kids avoided me like the plague, and I had no friends whatsoever. Then there were the teachers. They looked so concerned about me and worried about my grades. I could see the disappointment they kept carefully hidden in their eyes. And parents. My mom scolded me, saying stuff like,
“You need to get your head out of the clouds. Stop your mutterings about rainbows. You need to get serious, Brianna.” Other parents, though, were worse. They sent me hostile glances at pick-up and pulled their children close when they saw me pass.
She said I should draw a normal rainbow. Maybe she was also implying that she wanted me to be normal.
Suddenly, a mosquito buzzed past my face. The sun was starting to go down, I realized, and jumped up. “See you tomorrow!” I called up to the rainbow as I raced back inside my house.
The next day, our art teacher clasped her hands together excitedly. “We will be having an art show featuring rainbows.”
I couldn’t believe this was actually happening! I pulled out my rainbow sketchbook immediately, flipping through the pages until I found my favorite one. It was a cute face with a banana mouth, two cherry eyes, and a giant letter “Q” in the middle like a nose. This rainbow shape I chose was strange, but in my opinion, also beautiful. I admired it for a second. Then I started to color the background blue, with fluffy white clouds, and a small quarter of the sun.
Filled with excitement, I turned in my drawing after class and eagerly waited for approval. “Is it good?” I asked anxiously. I watched as her eyebrows furrowed. My art teacher was my absolute role model. I adored her. She always understood me. I was sure that she would understand my drawing too. Great minds think alike, right?
“It’s . . . interesting,” she finally said.
I could see her trying to muster a smile. Finally she managed a thin one.
“Oh,” I said. “Well, thanks.” I started to walk toward the door.
“Oh, and Brianna?” she called after me, her eyes sincere. “Try to draw an actual rainbow next time.”
I ran out the door as fast as I could. All of the students, the other teachers, the parents, they shunned me, and I didn’t care. But my art teacher was the one who understood me the most, the one who should know me the best, and I heard her back there. She said I should draw a normal rainbow. Maybe she was also implying that she wanted me to be normal. I felt so lost, like a traveler without a guide. My heart remained loyal to my rainbow, but my brain insisted on listening to my art teacher. Listen to her, my brain whispered. She is a professional. Finally, my brain won.
A few days later, after a big rainstorm, I ran outside with my rainbow sketchbook, just like before. I sat down on the still-wet pavement and started to draw the standard rainbow. I messed it up several times, my tears staining the pages. I felt like someone was suffocating me with all these rules. But I persisted. I needed to do this. Finally I got the lines shaped perfectly, and the colors in confinement. The rainbow above me lowered down and nudged me. I covered my eyes. It kept nudging me.
“Stop it!” I screamed. “Leave me alone! You only give me misfortune.”
As if showing my determination, I ripped out all the previous drawings of my rainbow and crumpled them one by one. Then I ran inside, closing the curtains. I would begin my life fresh and new again, starting with the rule of rainbows.
The new version of my drawing was so appreciated by everyone that it made its way to the art show on the conference night. That night, as I stood in front of it, I felt the admiring looks of other students. I am quite popular among them now.
“I am so proud of her improvement in school. She never has daydreams anymore, and she gets straight As.” My teacher came out into the hallway with my mom. They kept on talking as more parents and teachers walked past smiling at me. I smiled back.
But then my attention was drawn to the drawing again. I didn’t know why I felt so strange. I just did. Ever since I had drawn it, my rainbow had disappeared. I missed it so much. No matter what I told myself, I couldn’t resist it. I knew I had to make my rainbow come back. So, I took my drawing home that night. I had to make some changes.
The next day, I again stood in front of my artwork. Under the arch of the rainbow, there was the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty; there were also dragons, unicorns, dogs, and cats, and even some pizzas and ice creams. All of these tiny pictures sparked memories, flowing so freely that I could barely believe it. The snapshots of these days spent with my rainbow flooded my mind to the brim. All of these shapes didn’t clash with the rainbow arch. Instead, they made a rich harmony. The standard rainbow wrapped around the other pictures in a warm hug, embracing them. And they in turn filled the arch with colorful lights that showed brightly, making the artwork complete.
A crowd of younger students surrounded me and my drawing, whispering about what they thought it was. I turned around and confidently told them: “It’s my rainbow.”