Rebecca’s Rainbow

Rebecca’s Rainbow

From Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul

Rebecca’s Rainbow

O Christ, that it were possible
For one short hour to see
The souls we loved, that they may tell us
What and where they may be.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

From the time she was a small girl, eleven-year-old Rebecca loved to paint rainbows. She painted rainbows on Mother’s Day cards, rainbows on valentines, rainbows on drawings she carried home from school. “You’re my Rainbow Girl,” her mother would laugh, as she stuck another picture on the refrigerator with a big rainbow magnet.

Each bright band of color reminded Rebecca of something special in her life. Red, the color at the top, was like the sweet red ketchup she dumped on top of her favorite thing to eat, french fries—and anything else she could think of. Red was also the color of her other favorite food, lobster, which her mother rewarded her with at the end of every school year for a good report card. Orange made her think of pumpkins and the holiday she liked best, Halloween, when she could dress up and be whatever she chose. Yellow was the color of her hair—long, straight, fairy-tale princess hair that hung down her back like Rapunzel’s. Green meant the tickle of grass under the palms of her hands as she turned cartwheel after cartwheel, stretching her long legs toward heaven. Blue was the color of the morning sky, which she glimpsed from the skylight over her bed. Blue was also the color of her eyes, and the color of the ocean she lived near. And purple, the band at the heart of each rainbow, was her mother’s favorite color and always reminded Rebecca of home.

It was the last weekend in May, and Rebecca was looking forward to all her end-of-school-year activities. In a few days, she would be center stage, making all her friends laugh as “the nerd” in the school play. Shortly after that, she would be doing arabesques in her annual dance recital. Her father was about to host his famous Memorial Day weekend cookout. The only unhappy note was that Rebecca’s mother was going on vacation for a few days. It was the first time her mother had been away from home since Rebecca’s parents had divorced. Rebecca was unusually anxious about the separation and cried when they had to say goodbye. Perhaps she sensed something was about to happen.

Coming home late one night over the Memorial Day weekend, Rebecca, her father and his new wife were killed when a drunk driver traveling the wrong way down the highway hit their car. Only Rebecca’s nine-year-old brother, Oliver, survived the crash, protected by his sister’s body.

Rebecca’s funeral was held on the day that she was to have starred in the school play. It was a beautiful spring day, as bright and sunny as Rebecca herself. Rebecca’s mother closed her eyes and prayed. “Rebecca, I need to know that you are at peace. Please send me a sign. Send me a rainbow.”

After her funeral, Rebecca’s grieving friends and relatives were gathered with her mother at her grandparents’ house when, unexpectedly, it began to rain. It rained hard for a while. Then all at once it stopped. Suddenly, from the front porch of the house someone shouted, “Hey, everybody! Look! Look what’s out here!”

Everyone ran outside. Out over the ocean, a rainbow had appeared. It was a great big, magnificent array of colors that came down out of the clouds as if by magic. Every hue was bright and vivid and true.

As aunts wept and uncles jostled each other to get a better look, Rebecca’s mother gazed up at the beautiful picture her Rainbow Girl had painted in the sky and whispered, “Thank you.”

Tara M. Nickerson

You are currently enjoying a preview of this book.

Sign up here to get a Chicken Soup for the Soul story emailed to you every day for free!

Please note: Our premium story access has been discontinued (see more info).

view counter

More stories from our partners