Nadja met Rainbow in the same place. She entered the hotel lobby and saw Rainbow sitting nearby flipping through a magazine. This time her hair was back in a long braid and she wore jeans and a lavender T-shirt. She studied her profile as she slowly approached her. From a distance, she seemed so young and innocent.
And very sad.
But like a light switch, she beamed a bright smile the instant she looked up and saw her coming toward her.
“Hello, Miss Rainbow,” Nadja said.
“Hello back,” Rainbow said standing up.
“Still enjoying your visit to Germany?”
“Are you hungry?”
“I’m always hungry. Why?”
“Well, if it’s alright with you I thought we’d go out somewhere. There’s actually this nice little restaurant just a few blocks away that’s got great food and service.”
“Ok,” Rainbow agreed.
“Then after that, we can maybe take a walk and just enjoy the fresh air.”
“Sounds nice. But isn’t your time limited?”
“It was, but not anymore.”
“No?” Rainbow questioned, eyebrows raised. “How’d you manage that?”
“I simply shuffled my plans around,” Nadja said.
“Oh, you didn’t have to do that, but that was very sweet of you.”
They left the hotel lobby and headed for Nadja’s car which Rainbow complimented on in a way that reminded Nadja of just how unwell off Rainbow was used to being, though she seemed to be doing her best to try to hide how impressed she was.
And how miserable she was.
Rainbow may’ve been genuinely happy to see her and she may be a good actress who was able to fool most others, but she wasn’t fooling her. She could easily sense that underneath the smile she was absolutely miserable.
Not long afterward they were entering a fairly good size restaurant that was rather crowded.
“Zwei?” asked the waitress that came to seat them.
“Ja,” Nadja said with a polite nod.
The waitress said something else she couldn’t understand, and then after Nadja hesitated a split second, she answered.
“Gut,” said the waitress, leading them to their table.
“What was that all about in the end there?” Rainbow asked as they got comfortable in their booth.
“She asked if we wanted a smoking section or not and I chose the non-smoking.”
“You’re very kind,” Rainbow said with a smile.
Nadja smiled as well, and then her features took on a note of concern. “So tell me Rainbow.”
“What did you do yesterday? Anything exciting?”
Now it was Rainbow’s turn to hesitate. “No, not really.”
“No, I actually woke up pretty tired so I mostly hung around the hotel.”
“Oh, that’s too bad. Listen, Rainbow, because I rearranged my plans I can spend the rest of the day and evening with you and even bring you to the airport tonight if you’d like.” Nadja thought she detected a note of panic on Rainbow’s face, but if it was there it was gone as fast as it had appeared.
“Oh, you don’t have to do that,” she said quickly.
“Why is that?”
Rainbow thought fast. “Well, because I’ve already got a ride.”
“From who, if you don’t mind my asking.”
“Just a person a few doors down from me that I helped out a bit who’s leaving at the same time. They’ve got a rental car.”
Something seemed a bit off. “Helped out how?”
“Just by giving them some computer tips,” Rainbow said.
Although her explanation still seemed strange, Nadja picked up her menu and asked Rainbow what she liked. The girl didn’t seem to hear her. Moving her menu away from her face and making sure Rainbow was looking at her, she asked again and noted that Rainbow studied her lips more so than her eyes as she spoke.
“I’m a chicken and beef kind of person,” Rainbow said.
As a test Nadja casually blocked part of her face with her hand, turned her head at an angle and asked what she liked to drink with her meals.
Again Rainbow didn’t seem to hear her, though she knew she had spoken.
Making sure the girl could see her lips once again, she said, “Your best bet would be the roasted chicken. I highly recommend it. It’s very good here.”
“Ok,” said Rainbow, and Nadja began to wonder if she would have okayed dog shit if she’d suggested it with the way she seemed so detached from what was going on around her as well as life itself.
Why don’t I just cut to the chase, Nadja thought, and take the direct approach
“I love strawberry soda,” Rainbow said before Nadja could say anything more.
“I’m afraid they don’t have that here, honey. What other soda do you like?”
“Anything that isn’t orange.”
Nadja flashed a smile and then took on a note of seriousness and concern. “Rainbow, I’m concerned about you.”
“You don’t believe in psychics.”
“Excuse me?” Nadja asked, caught off guard by the unexpected change in subject.
“I said you don’t believe in psychics.”
“You’re right, I don’t. How did you know that, sweetie?”
“Because I’m one of those psychics you don’t believe in.”
Nadja wasn’t sure whether or not to laugh at the sudden and interesting turn of discussion.
“I’m not the one you need to worry about right now. You’re the one in danger. I can’t tell you what you had for dinner last week or if you’ll win the lottery next week, but I have dreams.”
“Dreams? As in premonitions?” Nadja asked, trying to keep the smile of amusement from her face.
Rainbow nodded. “I have nightmares before bad things happen. I had them again last night.”
“You don’t think they’re just because you’re stressed out and very depressed right now?”
Rainbow shook her head.
“How do you know the nightmare means that I have to worry instead of someone else you might know?”
“Because you’re the one that got hit by the other car when you were driving.”
“Oh,” Nadja said, letting out a slight giggle.
But Rainbow looked dead serious. “Be careful over the next seventy-two hours and save your laughter for later. Ok, Nadja?”
After Nadja gave their order to the waitress, she focused upon Rainbow once again, remembering to keep her lips visible. “Rainbow, what have you got planned for when you get back to the U.S.?”
“I told you I was staying with a friend, didn’t I? The rest I couldn’t possibly tell you yet because I just don’t know yet.”
“Because life isn’t what we plan it to be, you know what I mean?”
Nadja looked thoughtful a moment, then said, “No, not really.”
“Wow, you’re lucky then.”
“I mean I know we obviously don’t plan such horrible catastrophes in life like what happened to you, but for the most part I decided what I wanted in life, made plans and then carried them out.”
“Well, then you’re one hell of a blessed fluke of nature.”
Again Nadja wasn’t sure if she should laugh. What she was sure of was the feeling of doom that intensified as the hours ticked by. Although Rainbow seemed to enjoy spending time with her, she sure was in a hurry to get rid of her once 9:00 rolled around, saying she wanted to take a quick shower before leaving for the airport.
“Are you absolutely sure you don’t want a ride?” Nadja asked her.
“I’m sure. Thank you for the time you’ve given me and for teaching me the valuable lesson you’ve taught me,” Rainbow said with emotion evident in her eyes.
“And what lesson is that, Rainbow?”
“That you really can come to care for someone you never met.”
Nadja smiled softly, touched but still worried. Finally, they hugged, kissed each other on the cheek, and then Nadja headed down to her car.
She was just about to turn the key in the ignition when she stopped herself. She never claimed to be psychic herself but something was wrong. Very wrong.
Last updated April 17, 2021