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Rainbows Apologize for Angry Skies

Girl in the hammock, hammock in the wind, swaying together as if on soft waves of some distant ocean neither had ever seen. The sun was just slipping from zenith; the heat of the day was strong. The girl closed her eyes and sighed, letting the warmth of the sun soak through her clothes and heat the shadows between her shirt and her skin. Her arms hung dangling from the cloth cradle, and the white bursts of dying dandelions tickled her fingertips. Small seed-kites came free with each rock of the hammock, each sweep of her hand, and they sailed off in the wind, free to procreate.
Calm afternoon, pleasant afternoon, it felt so good to let it sink inside her, penetrate her worries and fears, warming the cold pit in her stomach. In the red-darkness of closed lids, she could imagine she was on a three-mast ship, sailing across calm seas. For a moment, she thought she smelled brine in the air.
The heat had a magic effect, turning every muscle to softened lead, pressing the drowsiness of late mornings into every inch of her skin. The faint swing of the hammock lulled her to sleep like a tiny child in her mother’s arms.
The wind shifted, the tiny seed-kites danced across the girl, tickling her face and making her open her eyes. It was getting cooler. She stared up at the big maple tree overhead and felt the progression of the sun as the tree’s shadow crept over her. The shady spots felt cold on the skin, as if she were pressing a frost-covered leaf to her forehead, her eyelids, and the tip of her nose. She closed her eyes again, but the gradual motion of the shadow made her restless, and the cold in her stomach was starting to tingle again. The lethargy heat had created melted away in shivers with the growing chill.
Sitting up, the girl put the tips of her bare toes on the ground and leaned back, rocking the swing purposely, while crossing her arms behind her head. The leaves whispered, the light shimmered, and the shadow kept spreading. The girl frowned thoughtfully, putting her mind to things that were happy and calm. Each thought lasted for a few minutes, until the girl remembered what she was not thinking about, and then the happy thoughts faded. The shadow of the giant tree covered the whole hammock; the sun sank lower; the sky was tinted with the first hints of a brilliant sunset.
The wind picked up suddenly, and the whole world shivered violently, the leaves hissed as if angry and the tall grasses tangled together for protection. The girl shivered too, and got up from the hammock, turning toward the house. Its lights had come on, and though the sky had seemed bright a moment ago, twilight had come like a thief in the night. The last strokes of color on the western horizon faded with each passing moment. The girl closed her eyes again, letting the wind tug at her clothes and tease the little bumps to rise on her bare skin. She held out her hands, feeling the moving air push between her fingers, flowing around her like water. For a moment, she caught the scent of thunder in the air.
Warmth from the windows pulled the girl back to the house and up onto the brightly lit porch with no railing, only a few narrow beams to hold up the roof. The bright lights made the twilight seem black, and all the shapes she had been able to distinguish a moment before faded into shadows. The porch swing creaked in the wind, and from somewhere along the dark horizon, a faint rumbling sent tickles of excitement and fear through her. She took a deep breath, washed with the tingling anticipation in the air. A storm was on the wind to take away the heat of laziness and the calm she had treasured. A rainbow waited in the distance.





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