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  • The rain came hard, and it came fast. Sunshine, cloud, sprinkle, sprinkle, downpour.

    I quickened my pace and ducked under an overhang, untying the jacket from my waist and slipping it on, pausing only a moment to tug at the zipper. The wind whipped rain under the meager shelter. Other pedestrians seeking stepped back, and on the sidewalk, on the street, those without shelter ran for cover.

    Reaching into my pocket and barely breaking stride, I pulled out an umbrella, the new one umbrella, the one I'd just bought while walking in the rain to my meeting. I'd made it two and a half miles before the rain grew too hard for just the jacket. Now, though, I didn't even try. I popped it open and angled it in front of me, wielding the nylon and metal like a shield.

    The rain drove over, under, and around the umbrella. The wind whipped and flipped the umbrella inside out. I strangled a curse, righted it, and angled it slightly lower. I pulled my hood tighter and kept my head down.

    As I walked, the denim below the hem of my jackets grew heavy and wet. Dark blue.

    One block.

    Two.

    The rain lightened as it continued to fall on my shadow, and I paused. Shadow. I looked over my shoulder to see the sun shining fiercely.

    "This is so weird," laughed the woman behind me.

    I agreed, and I stopped, fiddling with my umbrella, pretending to be doing anything but what I was. I turned on my heel as she hurried past with her head down and umbrella up. I tilted my head back and scanned the sky. I took a few cautious steps and looked up again. I turned. I lowered my umbrella and walked slowly in the softening rain, looking up, scanning, searching.

    "There," I exhaled in a whisper so soft that I wasn't even sure that I said it.

    "There!" I repeated for no one at all.

    Arcing over the district a rainbow glimmered in the late afternoon light, and I laughed. I turned on my heel one more time, but the girl was gone. I didn't see anyone else on foot. I wanted to stop the cars passing. I wanted to shout at their drivers, so intense behind their steering wheels.

    "Look up! It's there. Right there! Do you see it?"

    I didn't have a camera but for the one on my phone. I didn't have a clear shot of the rainbow besides. There were trees, houses, lines in the way, but I could see it. There. Just there. A promise glimmering in the late afternoon light, but nobody seemed to be looking up. In minutes, it had faded from the sky, but the memory had burned itself in my brain.

    "It was there. It was brilliant," I told my brother when I got home. "You just had to look up."
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