Can You See the Rainbow?
The Acara had never seen a rainbow.
Everything about the Acara was painfully grey. His fur was a pale silver; his ears drooped forward and his eyes were dark. The suit he wore was a drab shade of grey, his pale shoes polished to a shine. Every day he walked the grey stone path with his black brief case in his hand, disappearing into a dull office to reemerge several hours later. Then he would return home and pluck an apple that had lost its color from the tree in his yard, sprinkle some water over his dreary gardens, and go to sleep.
As usual, he walked home quietly, his shoes tapping against the grey stones. His head was down, his mind occupied by thoughts known only to him. He remained a mystery to all who knew him, self-absorbed, entirely preoccupied with his grey life.
Standing at the edge of his driveway, he reached out a paw for his daily apple. When he drew his arm back, his paw was not fisted around his ordinary grey fruit; the apple was radiant, purple at the top, red at the bottom, filled with every color of the theoretical rainbow. There was a burst of surprise in his eyes and then he calmly disposed of the apple, taking care to pluck a grey fruit from the grey tree instead.
He disappeared into his drab home, whose faded curtains were always drawn, sealing him off from the rest of Neopia Central.
The next morning he awoke before the sun to tend to his gardens. He had two; a flower garden in which white blossoms thrived beautifully, and a vegetable garden in which vegetables in varying shades of grey were carefully grown. He watered the vegetables, scanned the soil, and with a satisfied nod, made his way into the front yard to tend to his flowers. As he watered the plants, the soil dipped, revealing a flash of blue.
With a frown, he knelt down and gently pushed the soil away from the flower. A blue blossom revealed itself, and then a pink and a purple one, flowers of every color magically appearing as he pushed the soil to the side. This time, he hesitated – but without so much as a furtive glance, he slowly pulled the roots from the soil. The lid of the grey garbage can fell over the plant with a satisfying clatter.
He went back into his Neohome. When he stepped out half an hour later, his clothes were neatly pressed as always and he calmly walked the path to his office. Inside, he stepped into his office and sat down behind his neatly organised desk, taking a black pen and filling out papers.
The clock struck twelve – noon – and he took the white paper bag out of his briefcase. Other Neopets parted as he approached, carving a path for him as he strode briskly down the hall and into the cafeteria. Inside, the tables were crowded with Neopets in every shade of office attire; he picked an empty marbled table and sat down, preparing to eat.
The burger he drew out was not the drab lunch he had prepared in his kitchen. The bun was a healthy brown, the cheese an average shade, and the burger burst alive in every shade of blue, orange, red. Aware of the usual questioning gazes, the Acara swiftly put the burger back into the bag and stood up.
He dusted off his trousers and deposited the paper bag in the trash can as he walked back to his office, his stomach growling in protest.
Slightly unnerved now, he spent the rest of the day in a haze, unfocused and barely able to concentrate. The effect on his work was apparent and startling, so he turned the lights off and left his office at four instead of six. He rounded the last corner before his Neohome just in time to see a baseball fly towards his door and crash through the window.
The kids on the street were new to him, an eclectic and funky mix of species and colors ranging from a Blue Bori to a Pirate Buzz. There were three of them, and they were now huddled at the edge of his driveway, nervously whispering and pointing at the shattered windowpane that marred the appearance of his tidy house.
“Hey!” the Acara said, walking a little faster. “That’s my house!”
He put his briefcase down and turned to face the Neopets. They met his stern gaze uncertainly and he wondered where they had come from. Certainly there were no rowdy children on his street before – he would have remembered something like that.
“I would like to know,” he said in his slow, precise speech, “who threw that ball.”
The three Neopets reluctantly parted to show a fourth, much smaller, in their midst. The Rainbow Kacheek looked up at him hesitantly. “That’s me,” she said in a small voice. The Acara’s face remained impassive as he looked at her.
“I’m Mia, Sir.” She slowly inched up to him and grabbed his paw in a quick handshake. The Acara yelped and jumped back as if burned; he glanced down at his dull grey paw. A streak of color flashed across it.
The Kacheek looked terrified, fear showing itself plainly on her face. “I... I guess the paint isn’t quite dry yet,” she stammered. “I’m sorry... I hope that’ll wash off.”
“Never mind,” he said, grimacing. He held the paw out away from him, trying to keep the bright paint off of his belongings and self. “Can you pay for the window? You can’t damage my property and not pay for the repairs.”
She opened her mouth but no sound came out; the Buzz stepped forward quickly. “Sir, we don’t have much money. It was an accident, I promise. Mia doesn’t mean anyone any harm.”
“Nonetheless,” the Acara replied, resolute, unbending. “You did break my window.” He turned to Mia and felt a little sorry for her. “Are you any good at watering plants? I have a garden and a job. Maybe you can water my garden once a day. That way I can earn the Neopoints to replace the window and I won’t have to worry about my plants.”
Her small eyes lit up with gratitude. “Yes, Sir, I can do that!”
The next day, when he returned from work, Mia was bent over his garden, lovingly watering the plants, one by one. She stood up and waved as he approached the corner, and he frowned at the radiant smile on her face. The bright colors of her fur made it difficult to concentrate on her, and he quickly looked away.
“Sir, I made your flowers prettier!”
A gasp escaped his lips as he looked down at his gardens, a cry of surprise. His flowers were no longer an even, pure white, but colored every possible colour, a painfully vivid group of blossoms growing in his dull garden. Mia must have sensed his scrutiny because she said, her voice loud and cheerful, “Your flowers were really plain so I made them pretty for you.”
“These are not pretty,” he said tightly. His eyes ached from looking at the brightness of the once-dreary flowers he had so meticulously grown.
She came to stand beside him again, and put a paw on his sleeve. “Why are you so grumpy, Sir? Everything looks much nicer when there’s a rainbow around.”
“There are no such things as rainbows,” the Acara responded, looking at his grey fur and his grey house and his grey life. He looked down at the sleeve she had touched, and a splash of color decorated the elbow, a youthful paw print.
“Just look,” Mia urged.
He turned his head to the sky, which was blue today instead of grey. And there it was – stretched across the ceiling of the world were perfectly drawn lines, a neat and brilliant rainbow.
Grey Day is on the 14th - celebrate in style. Don't hide inside; this time, go out and find your rainbow! :)