My bicycle tires crushed bright orange flowers the size of my fist into the black asphalt as I sped beneath the flame trees. On the other side of the new brown plastic fence, cows lumbered slow through the tall grass, standing or grazing lazily. Behind them, the steep green slopes of the koolaus rose up to a sky patchy with clouds. On the other side of the bike path, old telephone poles leaned under the weight of their wires, and cars sped down the narrow, pot-holed and patched highway. The smell of the sea mixed with car exhaust, sun on dewy grass, and tropical flowers.
As I sped down the path the sun warmed the back of my neck and my shoulders, even through the straps of my backpack. All of a sudden, a brilliant rainbow spread across the sky in front of me. Bright against a charcoal background of cloud, it stretched from behind the jungle trees that hid the beach from my view, all the way to the mountaintops beyond the fields where the cows were grazing. A glorious arc of color, the most amazing, perfect rainbow I had ever seen, and there it was, right in front of me! It looked like I would bike right under it if I kept going.
Right in front of me!
Wait. That meant….
I saw it ripping toward me over the path, heard the rising roar, saw the wall rushing to meet me only an instant before I was pounded by buckets of cold rain. It swallowed me up, sent white streaks ricocheting off the asphalt, and created a fog of droplets that turned the grass silver-green and the cows into shadowy, distant shapes. I squinted and swerved my bike to avoid the puddles, not because I wasn’t already soaked, but because the mud here, the red volcanic clay, never washed out, not ever.
By the time I got to school I was as wet as if I’d rode my bike right into the canal, but the sky had already cleared. The dark rainclouds had moved inland, and were shrouding the mountains in a white gauze, leaving everything behind them gleaming wet in the sun, with colors as bright as the rainbow.