by Arna Radovich
My granpa’s face is round and brown and wrinkly, like a walnut. Mum says it’s because he’s spent his life outdoors.
His hands are gnarly and knotty like a tree branch, but they are still strong. When my granpa sees me, he always lifts me up in the air and says, "How’s my little rainbow today?"
He always calls me his little rainbow.
When my granpa comes over to look after me, he tells me stories about when he was a boy. He tells me about wild horses and howling dingoes, mad rabbits and boxing kangaroos. He tells me about the stars and the moon and about trees that look like ghosts in the bush darkness. He tells me about spitting spiders and sneaky snakes and crocodiles that look like they’re asleep when they’re not. My granpa has so many stories to tell.
"Did I ever tell you about the day that you were born?" he asks. And even though I’ve heard this story a hundred times, I always want to hear it again.
"‘On the day you were born," my granpa says, "I was very sad. A few days earlier, I'd said goodbye to Flick, my horse. Now, as you know, Flick and I had been mates since way back. But he was very old and I couldn’t ride him any more. I just let him wander around in the back pasture, eating grass. He was what you call ‘retired’ - a bit like me. He’d worked hard all his life and now it was time to take it easy."
I knew exactly what Granpa was going to say next.
"Flick was the smartest horse I ever met; we spent years working together and he knew what I was thinking before I did."
Then Granpa would give a big sigh and say, "I loved that horse, I really did," and he would just sit quietly for a while before he went on with the story.
"Then – one day, when I went down the paddock to give Flick a carrot or two, he was lying down in the long grass. His eyes were closed. He couldn’t get up. He was very sick. Not long after that, he went to the place that old horses go, and I was very sad."
Granpa looked at me. "The day you were born, it rained all day. The sky was grey, the wind was cold and then the phone rang. And who do you s’pose it was?"
"Dad!" I shouted.
"Yes," he said, "It was your father. He was ringing to say that you were born. When I went outside, the rain had stopped. A huge and perfect rainbow stretched across the sky. I drove straight to the hospital and when I saw you – and you were absolutely perfect – I forgot to be sad, because now I had my very own special little rainbow to brighten up every day."
And that’s why Granpa always calls me his 'little rainbow’.
Arna Radovich has always loved writing stories, but it's only now her three boys are all grown up, that she has more time to write. Arna was recently shortlisted for the CBCA Aspiring Writers' Award and has a story, Pierre the Peacock, in Sally Odger's new anthology, Charms (Volume 1). www.arnaradovich.com.au
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