Rainbow Girl

Miles has decided that there is something inherently strange about Rainbow Girl. It's not her usual layering of wildly patterned shirts, vests, sweaters, and jackets. It's not her obscenely floral hippie skirts, swirling around her ankles as she putters up and down the crowded hallways. Of course, one can't forget to mention her crazy, out of control hair, died in stripes of every color imaginable and hanging halfway down her back. But even that isn't why she's so…different. It's something Miles has noticed about her way of being. She seems almost content. Not in the way that average teenagers are content with a good grade on a test or a new gift card to the mall.

Rainbow Girl seems as though she has found enlightenment. Miles laughs at himself as he thinks this. Enlightenment? He has obviously been thinking too much about his readings for AP Psychology. Miles is usually not one to fixate like this. He has a group of friends, does OK in school, and is a shoe-in for a comfortable baseball scholarship after graduation next month. And really, these things are all he cares about. He's usually pretty chill and goes with the flow. But lately, for some reason, he hasn't been able to get her out of his head.

Miles' musings are interrupted when someone shoves into his back, nearly forcing his whole body into his open locker.

"'Sup, buddy?" Without even turning, Miles knows it's his oftentimes ridiculous best friend, Cody. Miles pushes himself upright and turns around. Cody is a self-proclaimed "womanizer" and "life of the party" but really, he's usually just an idiot.

"Hey," Miles replies, slamming his locker shut and heading down the hall with Cody, toward the Cafeteria. For a few minutes he half-listens to Cody's ramblings about his psychotic French teacher, Madame Blackwell. When they reach their usual round table where several other of their friends are seated, Miles blurts suddenly,

"What do you guys know about Rainbow Girl?"

There is silence. Miles glances around the circle, scanning expressions everywhere on the spectrum from incredulous confusion to blatant disgust. "Uh…why?" asks Leah, the only girl seated at the table.

"Yeah…why?" several others repeat.

"I dunno. I just wondered if anyone ever talks to her. She's always by herself." Miles realizes the clock is ticking and he has yet to start lunch, so he grabs the Gatorade, turkey sandwich, and banana from his bag.

"Of course she's always alone," Leah replies. "She's a total freak." Miles can feel himself tense, readying to defend Rainbow Girl. Instead he just asks,

"How do you know she's a freak? Maybe she just likes doing her own thing. That's kinda cool. Have you even ever talked to her?" Leah holds his determined gaze for a moment, before dropping her eyes back to her lunch and shrugging her shoulders.

"No," she mumbles. "Why would I want to?"

Miles hears her mutter the question quietly under her breath, but chooses to ignore her. "Does anyone even know her real name? I'm pretty sure it's not actually "Rainbow Girl." No one responds.

"Fine. I'm gonna go find out." Before his friends can protest, Miles jumps from his seat and storms across the cafeteria to where Rainbow Girl sits at a table by herself, popping green grapes into her mouth as she doodles in a notebook. After only a slight hesitation, Miles reaches out to tap her shoulder. Rainbow Girl jumps a bit, startled then turns quickly to face him.

"Hi. I'm Miles." He sticks a hand out. For a moment she just stares, first at his face, then his hand, his face, then his hand, back and forth before a frown crinkles her forehead.

"Um…good for you," She turns back to her journal, humming to herself as packs her lunch and backpack before standing and walking away. Miles stares at her retreating figure, his hand still hanging out in front of him. What just happened?

Miles can't help but overhear the snickering of everyone who witnessed the train wreck.

So she thinks she can just ignore him and walk away? Psht. Think again, Rainbow Girl. And he takes off after her, leaving his friends behind.