I was heading for the car yesterday afternoon when the rain came down. The sun was still shining. Hooray, I thought, there might be a rainbow. (I love rainbows.) So I stood in the car park for a minute, and took a look at the sky.
It was grey. Sulky, grim, bad-tempered grey. I felt for my car key in my pocket and thought, well, you can’t always get what you want.
But then, as I watched, the rainbow came.
Grey, then just a shiver of the air in a high arc, then a moment as I thought I was seeing things, and then pale but irrefutable colours coming through. Not there, then there.
I’m not sure there are words for how watching this rainbow – what? emerging? creating itself? being born? – felt. For a moment I was a little quaver of sweet, gentle joy. I was the lonely girl who sees a fairy in a hedge. I was the boy who has tried to net butterflies all afternoon, then with his last, tired, half-hearted lunge catches a Red Admiral that is prepared to sit, calm, in his palm for a minute or two before making its winking way back up to the blue.
As I drove homeward, I watched the rainbow grow stronger, spawn its reverse-self, and then fade.
I stopped the car en route to take this photo.
Gorgeous, no? But I liked it best when it was new.