Excerpt from writing workshops facilitated by youth intern Skye Slattery.
Accompanying story provided by the workshop participants.


“Because of the Fleeting Rainbow”

by Sari

If you asked Flora what her favorite weather was, she wouldn’t be able to answer right away. She’s not a girl who has an immediate answer to a question such as, “Do you prefer cats or dogs?” It was always queer to her whenever she thought about it. Maybe if someone did ask her what her favorite weather was, she could answer, “The kind that has a beautiful yet unexpected outcome.”
Raindrops were hitting hard on the window sill outside. The streets practically gleamed from all the water. Flora stopped painting with her watercolors as her eyes tracked a raindrop’s small journey down her window. It slightly reminded Flora of herself. One moment she was running, accelerating as she crossed the street that led to her school. The next, it all went dark and ominous around her. Then she found herself in a hospital bed, listening to the monotone beeps of the devices that seemed to be connected to her. To this day, she still can’t remember what truly happened that was the cause of her not being able to move her legs anymore.

Maybe if she could still walk, she could go out into the world to find the answers to the seemingly impossible. Flora was always the type of kid who would jump into action without thinking first. Even if she couldn’t figure out what to do next. Thankfully, she could still see outside her window. That large piece of glass was like an opening into the world. It was built quite wide, and her bed was positioned at the perfect angle to see outside.
Flora went back to her watercolors to try and draw the clouds in the sky, but when she tried to look through the window, she noticed that they had parted in a section, revealing rays of multicolored sunbeams. Was it sunlight? No, it was a rainbow, with all the colors reaching out endlessly through that small gap in the clouds. Or was it endless? Using her arms to shift her body towards the front of her bed, which was the closest point to the window, Flora could have a better look as she strained her eyes to find the end. Maybe if her bushy curls hadn’t been in the way, she’d be able to see it. Sadly, while Flora tried to brush her curls away, the rainbow completely dissolved, revealing the buildings that were there before.
Flora made a grunt as she reached for her small tablet on the bedside table and started her investigation. Where was the end? Was there an end? Sure, Flora couldn’t find out on her own, but she could rely on other resources to find her answer (and this excluded silly theories on the internet about being able to walk on a rainbow). Flora wasn’t that gullible.
All the answers seemed to lead to nothing. “There was no end,” people said. “It’s just a trick of the light.”

Flora powered off the device and laid down on her mattress. Maybe what she was doing was stupid and childish. It was, after all, something she’d never be able to come near anyway, with the state she was eternally in. For some silly reason, she had gotten herself all riled up when she should have been resting, just like her doctors strongly recommended.
Her vision got blurry as silent tears cut through her face. Just like the raindrops on the window earlier that day. Momentarily, the dark oak door squeaked open as her aunt Edie came in to give Flora her prescriptions. Aunt Edie didn’t fuss over Flora’s tears or ask her if she was alright because she knew that her silent presence was good enough. She only gave Flora a knowing smile as she handed her a book.

“I’m back from the library. Look what I found! It has folktales and legends in it. Sounds pretty exciting, right?” Aunt Edie looked Flora in the eyes as she waited for an answer. Flora nodded in approval and started flipping through the pages. It was interesting, she had to admit. It was almost as if her aunt knew that she needed something to help ease her mind.
One of the stories included something about a “bloody Mary.” Quite thrilling, yet Flora wasn’t into horror or spooky tales. The illustrations, however, were captivating and offered the feeling of being in another time. Flora paused in front of an image of a rainbow and a pot filled to the brim with shiny golden coins. A small figure of a man in a green suit was standing near it as if guarding the treasure.
“Do you like that picture?” Aunt Edie asked.
Flora didn’t make a single comment. She was still looking at the image.
Aunt Edie only laughed to herself silently.
“It’s so magical, isn’t it? I’ll read it to you if you’d like.” At this response, Flora perked up as she handed the book to her aunt.
There was a pause as Aunt Edie adjusted herself on Flora’s bed and began to read. Through every sentence and place where Aunt Edie imitated a character’s voice, Flora felt as if she was a part of the story. Sure, it might not have been true, but it sure was something interesting. She didn’t need to have it proven by scientists or by her own eyes—just having someone read it to her was good enough.
When Aunt Edie finished reading the tale, it almost seemed as if only five minutes had passed. It was twenty after two o’clock, signaling that in ten minutes, Aunt Edie had to attend a meeting that always happened around that time.
Flora was left alone in her room once again. The soft sound of the pitter-pattering rain outside came to an end. Although the form of the rainbow outside had materialized into nothing and left Flora feeling disappointed. The story her aunt had read gave her a new perspective.
Although you may not be able to prove something yourself, you could still experience the feeling through other people around you.


About the author:
Sarai was just short of fourteen years old when the idea for this story sparked. Sarai enjoys drawing, reading, karaoke, video games, playing violin, and spending time with friends and family. The inspiration for this story came when she was reading a story out loud. The story featured a character with cerebral palsy who still found ways to engage with the world. Sarai is a frequent library user, often checking out dozens of books.