It is a struggle to awake, fighting against the dream, which clutches like quicksand.
I open my eyes to this new day to gaze out the bedroom’s open verandah doors. A hummingbird, with a breast of iridescent emerald green and a blush of crimson on its throat, has its beak and tongue buried deep in a hibiscus flower; one of the many yellow blooms on the bush overhanging the deck off our bedroom.
It was the trilling hum of this bird’s wings, I realize as I gaze enthralled at this event of sublime erotica, that has been the alarm clock call that has aroused me this morning. Sandra sleeps still, turned away from me. She stirs slightly as I touch the curve of her hip and moans faintly, whether from my touch, or from the continued clutch of her own dream, I cannot tell.
The dream that has held me is beguiling. Even awake, it still threatens to pull me back into that other dimension. I can remember only fleeting images and a feeling of contending against some adversarial force. Perhaps, I was playing out some hero mythology; perhaps replaying some old drama. Should I return to it? I need just close my eyes to drift back. I’ve often been able to continue a dream thusly, like returning to a book interrupted by a phone call or a visit from a neighbor.
As if to punctuate the preference to stay awake, a rainbow appears, the end of its arc touching down in the sea. The colors are as vivid as a Maxfield Parrish painting. As I watch entranced, a double rainbow forms, then miraculously, a triple. Three complete arches, each running into the Caribbean like a palette of spilled watercolors. My heart feels like it is about to explode. The beauty is so sublime. Ok, I agree, I shall stay awake and aware. ‘Thank you for the reminder,’ I offer in silent prayer.
“What?” murmurs Sandra. Maybe my prayer was not so silent? Maybe she is reading my mind again, as often happens to old married couples like we’ve somehow become in just a dozen short years together.
“Look,” I say, “a triple rainbow.”
“Oh my,” she exclaims, “my first one.”
The shower that spawned the rainbows passes on enough for the island of Bequia to appear. We can now see the first ferry of the day on its way over to Kingstown from Port Elizabeth. Closer, is a sailboat heading north with both mainsail and jib flying. From our perspective, it passes right through one of the two remaining arches of color. (The third having faded away as the rain tracks west.) The white sails become multi-hued. God, I wish I had a camera. Should I sleep with one under my pillow? Could a camera even capture this moment?
“I wonder if they know?” asks Sandra.
“Know what?” I ask, even though I know what she means.
“That they’ve been caressed by a rainbow,” she answers.
Caressed by light. Are any of us really ever fully conscious that we are constantly caressed by light, by infinite love? We are immersed in the divine, but only glimpse it on occasions of sublime beauty, or accidental transcendental experiences, or in dying, but those are other stories. I will come to them; one sooner than the others.
“Did I tell you yet today that I love you?” I ask.
“More than a rainbow loves the sun and the rain?” asks Sandra. It is an ongoing game we play. The rules of this game would have compelled me to reply with some other superlative; but just then, SoPhat, our Siamese enters, stage left, to announce that it is time for his breakfast. “Miaou, miaou,” he asserts. “Alright, alright,” I answer.