Chasing Rainbows

Screaming, laughing, running through the field,

chasing the rainbow,

The rainbow runs up the hill,

her colors trailing behind her,

My face is flushed, my heart racing,

the rainbow stands on the hill watching me approach,

She is breathing hard, glowing with excitement,

but as I draw nearer, she runs again,

and escapes from my schoolboy clutches,

her rainbow colors flowing down the hill.

It is the chase that is important…

I do not know what I will do if I catch the rainbow.

What will happen if I can grasp the red, yellow and blue

And stop her from splashing her colors all over the green field?

I don't really want to catch her.

I just want the enchanted game to go on forever,

just want to keep chasing her magical beauty,

to always be within a few feet of her mirage,

never quite reaching it.

Was I chasing the rainbow or chasing the girl?

What was so alluring about her colorful jacket sparkling in the sunlight?

I don't know.

I just remember the thrill of the chase and the captivating power of the rainbow,

exalting in the freedom of childhood.

The scene changes as my the gel of my memories drip through the hour glass of my mind.

The sun shines brightly, her golden hair glimmers, her eyes are lowered, seemingly demure.

An assemblage of guests stand behind us, our presiding minister stands before us.

I stand beside my bride, listening to the incantations of the minister;

I am not afraid although this solemn ceremony has only been minutes in the making,

I do not fear the death of my childhood;

I am thinking of what game we will play next when the wedding is over..

Maybe hide and seek or tag.

I know I will not have to stay in the yard for long,

just until the strange ritual is over

and then the group will scatter, and the games will continue.

We are married and Marcy looks at me expectantly

and closes her eyes.

I lean forward awkwardly and it is done, my first kiss,

little white stones instead of rice are thrown and it all is over.

Marriage wasn't scary then, it was hardly present at all.

My parents weren't husband and wife, they were mother and father;

they didn't have needs, wants and urges.

Their marriage was a ceremony that happened long ago, not something that was ongoing…

not something that could suddenly be over or gone.

My mother wasn't a woman, she was my mom.

She had always been there:

to hold me when I was sick or scared,

to sing to me, to laugh with me, to scold me.

Her love enveloped me in innocence and security.

I didn't think about her inner feelings or even that she might not be happy.

For me pain was something that lasted minutes and then it was gone.

I didn't know about the dull ache that erodes you slowly,

I didn't know that a smile could hide immense suffering and anguish.

My mother shielded me from her pain for as long as she could:

not knowing this, I played in the sunlight, laughing, playing,

chasing rainbows, having fun, enjoying life, not thinking too deeply,

or questioning anything too closely…just living.

In my childhood, anger was a momentary disruption of joy,

sadness was a temporary alteration of happiness,

fear was something your mother could banish with a hug and a kind word.

The future was far away and not to be worried about.

The little boy I was then seems so far away today.

His innocence is gone,

his naïve trust has turned to suspicion and fear.

Marriage is no longer a childish game but a dangerous and precarious union

that can end in grief, shattered homes, and the end of sheltered childhood.

Females are no longer just mothers and enchanting girls to chase across green fields,

but breathing, bleeding creatures who can inflict pain arbitrarily and on a whim.

My childhood is gone.

But the little boy is still with me.

Sometimes when all is quiet I can hear the soft rhythm of his beating heart

and I know that despite my anger, fear and despair

there is hope and beauty in this world if I choose to see it.

March 26, 2010