Pick a Color, Any Color: 4.17.16
Posted by: Jade Crystal Harmon
I’m four, sitting on my parents’ loft bed in a room full of bright sun. I’m watching dozens of little rainbows dart across the glossy white wall, splashed out of a plum-sized octagonal crystal hung in the window from fishing line. I tap the crystal to set them whirling.
I’m seven. Yes, my middle name really is Crystal. A disproportionate number of girls in my elementary school got middled with ‘Anne’ or ‘Elizabeth’. I feel unique with my mineral name, clearly the main character of the story because they get the cool names.
I’m ten. The new house has mown hay fields on all sides . My mom is a rainbow hunter – she has a sense for these things that makes us twitchy when sun and rain mix. When storms blow through in the late afternoon, the heavy golden sunlight tosses out a showy rainbow against the dark Eastern sky. We all run outside through the last drops, giddy with ozone, feet wet and caked with lawn clippings. Two decades before Instagram and selfies, my mom grabs my dad’s old Pentax to catch me posing, an arm outstretched to catch the rainbow in my palm.
I’m 21 and my boyfriend’s new york city-raised mom sees her first rainbow on a trip to Ireland at the age of 52. Her first. When she gets really sick, I make her a little story about a city girl who longs to see rainbows that aren’t in hose mist or oily puddles. I give her a crystal, a big plum-sized octagonal one that she hangs in her window from fishing line.
I’m 36. My little son decides he is giving his Oma a crystal. I help him pick out a little bit of glass cut into the shape of a heart, tinted pale blue. He tucks it into a tiny cushioned white box, hides it in a larger cardboard box, and delivers the whole thing without blurting out the contents before she’s opened it. He is four, and when he sits in her sunny bedroom, he watches schools of tiny rainbow fish dart across the white walls.