From Rainbows: Microfiction




Arkhip Kuindzhi [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


From the weathered porch of the country cottage that had belonged to her grandparents, Astrid sat watching the rain. She loved the scent of rain. Petrichor, she thought, enjoying the sound of the word.

Her mother said Astrid used words to keep people away. Astrid wondered if that was true. She had come to the cottage to sort through her life. Her on-and-off again relationship with another professor was now off, permanently it seemed.

Before the rain began, Astrid had been reading her grandmother’s diary, enjoying her words. She read of her grandmother Elisabeth’s twenty-fifth birthday, a story of love, of an embrace and a pearl necklace.

The rain ended suddenly, as summer storms often do, and a glorious rainbow appeared. As Astrid gazed at the prismed archway, she thought she heard violins playing “Vienna Waltz,” her grandmother’s favorite. Then a couple in old-fashioned formal clothing took form before it, twirling in three-quarter time. The couple danced closer to Astrid; the woman turned and smiled at her. I must be dreaming, Astrid thought as she saw the woman’s face. She heard her grandmother’s voice in her head, “Open your heart and love will find you.” As abruptly as they had appeared, the couple vanished. There was a swirl of light, and Astrid looked down. A pearl lay on the porch floor by her feet, glowing in the rays of the setting sun.


This story is in response to Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge. The painting above was the prompt. (My husband said, “Interesting how you got this from that.)

You can read Elisabeth’s story here.

42 thoughts on “From Rainbows: Microfiction

  1. Hopelessly and wonderfully romantic. This picture is so evocative, isn’t it? Jane has a talent for finding them.
    My grandmother visited me in a dream once. She’s a big part of my fiber heritage, so I’ve always felt reassured by that. (K)

    • Thanks, Kerfe. I thought it might be a bit too much Hallmark movie, but went for it anyway. 🙂 I agree that Jane does have a talent for finding wonderful art as prompts.
      That is so cool about your grandmother visiting you in a dream.
      (Of course, now I’m thinking Fiddle on the Roof and Grandmother Tzeitel.) Haha.

      • You are somehow able to do romance without the schmaltz. It’s a skill.

        This was a gentle visit, which was not the aura of my Upright Christian grandmother at all. But you always know there are deeper reserves under every façade. I like to believe she was finally able to shed all those fears that had built those walls.

      • Thank you very much, Kerfe.
        It sounds like the dream visit made you feel good–or perhaps settled? Maybe she shed the fears and/or you also found a deeper understanding of her.

  2. Just a thought. I went back to make sure I’d got the story line right, and I think I know what made me stumble. Do you think it might be better if it’s the grandmother who makes the comment about Astrid and words? The introduction of the off-stage mother just to make a comment is maybe unnecessary and might even make more sense if it was the grandmother’s insight that we hear.

  3. This was a wonderful way of taking history, family, climate weather conditions and romance while compacting into micro-fiction, Merril.
    I read some comments and agree with their responses. 🙂 You underestimated how beautifully you told this. From looking out across the field from her porch, Astrid had an astrophysical experience which will transform her life. Her grandmother’s dancing and leaving a pearl will lead her who knows where? Only our friend and intrepid writer knows. . . you can continue the impact from here. ❤

  4. Pingback: Microfiction challenge Rainbow: the entries – Jane Dougherty Writes

  5. Loved reading this, Merrill. I had a day thinking like that in Newcastle and started writing a short story about a piano and all the ghosts it evokes. Must get back to it. Have had so much to write about lately but quite busy.
    BTW when we were driving back from my grandmother’s funeral there was a huge rainbow reaching right across the plain. I felt like she was speaking to us.
    xx Rowena

    • Thank you, Rowena.
      That is so very cool that you saw the rainbow after your grandmother’s funeral! I’m sure it did seem like a message from her.
      I’ve been very busy this summer–the two books, extra test writing assignments, conferences, workshop–and life. Sorry I haven’t had a chance to keep up with all of your posts. 🙂

      • I have to ditto the apologies. I don’t know where all the time goes. Had a big hunt on today for a black skirt for my daughter to wear to the Opera House concert. She’s tiny so I’m pulling in the waist and taking up the hem. I made these suggestions just like my sister-in-law who is practical and sews and I should be able to pull it off but I did feel like a pretender. No doubt you’ve been through this type of thing with your daughters.

      • I can’t sew at all, but fortunately, we could usually find a friend who could. 🙂
        Last year my younger daughter bought her beautiful wedding gown “cash and carry” at a great price. It needed to be taken in quite a bit, but fortunately the costumer in the theater department where she had attended college did it for her–and even threw in some extra touches.

      • What a God send. We can’t be good at everything but at parents, we certainly get extended all sorts of directions…quite often for our own good.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.