Hildegard yawned and turned off her computer after taking her latest English lesson which involved live role-playing with a native English speaker. Someday both her family and her friends would be in for a real surprise. She smiled to herself at the thought of it. She’d actually begun learning several months before Rainbow had come to Germany and had planned not to tell anyone about it until she’d learned enough to surprise them with. She didn’t expect to ever become fluent, but she’d been bored lately and in need of a challenge.
She knew it was a bit sneaky of her to “eavesdrop” on Nadja and Rainbow when they talked, but she just couldn’t seem to help herself, even if she couldn’t understand everything that was being said. But she was able to understand more and more as the weeks progressed. Enough to get the general idea of the topic of discussion.
Hildegard stood up from her chair and looked at the wall clock. It was late Friday night and already the loneliness she felt when Nadja came to take Rainbow for the weekend was setting in like water seeping into a sponge.
She turned out the kitchen light and proceeded to cross the living room and head for the bedroom.
Suddenly, she felt heavier and older as she trudged through the darkened house. One thing Rainbow’s presence had definitely done was make her feel young again. At least in some ways. She flicked on the bedroom light. The room seemed cold despite the warmth of the humid summer night.
The bed she slid into which had seemed warm and cozy when Rainbow was also in it, now seemed to stretch for miles and only added to her sense of loneliness.
Trying to get into a comfortable position, Hildegard thought about her feelings for Rainbow. She was both surprised and pleased to feel what she did. Falling for someone eighteen years her junior that belonged to someone else wasn’t exactly part of the plan. And even though she was not sexually attracted to Rainbow, to know that it was not only a woman she had fallen for but one who belonged to her daughter made it all the more of an unexpected surprise to her. She’d been attracted to a few women before in her life and had even gotten a little touchy feely with one of them when she was young, but this was different. This went beyond attraction. She liked Rainbow. She liked her a lot. Maybe she even loved her.
Hildegard thought back to the shy, despondent woman who’d first entered her house less than a month ago. That woman had been someone she wasn’t sure she could help. That woman hadn’t seemed to care about anything or anyone. But now a whole new person seemingly walked in that woman’s shoes. One who had a zest for life and who loved people.
Subconsciously her hand wandered over to where Rainbow normally slept. She longed to reach for her, gather her in her arms and fall asleep snuggled up together. She sighed instead. It was going to be a long night.
“But I don’t want to go to Turkey!” Rainbow insisted as she and Nadja dried themselves off after showering together.
“Rainbow, quit whining, will you?” said an exasperated Nadja.
“Well, it’s true. I tried to tell your mom that but she wouldn’t hear of it.”
“She’s had this trip planned long before you entered the picture.”
“That may be so, but why should that mean I have to go with her? She’ll only be gone for a week. I don’t see why anyone would get in trouble with the courts if I stayed with you for one lousy week.”
“Maybe we wouldn’t, but maybe we would get in trouble. It’s simply not worth the risk. Would you rather be alone? Because that’s definitely not going to happen any more than you’re going to be able to stay with me while she’s down there.”
“No, I don’t want to be alone. I would rather go to Turkey than be alone. But I would rather be with you than go to Turkey.”
“I know, babe, and I wish to hell I could take you. But we don’t want to risk jeopardizing things and having the judge deciding not to let you stay with me, and mom could always use the company anyway.”
“I know. I just don’t know that I feel comfortable going to a place that’s considered the Middle East,” Rainbow said.
“Not all parts of the Middle East are bad or dangerous in any way. Do you really think my family and I would ever go there if the people were bad?” Nadja asked.
“You’re German, not American.”
“And I’ve told you before that they have no problem with Americans. As long as they don’t want to live there anyway.”
“Yes, and it’s that ‘as long as’ thing that bothers me.”
“That’s enough!” Nadja shouted.
Rainbow jumped as her voice echoed off the tiled walls of the tiny bathroom and pierced her ears. She was surprised by Nadja’s sudden outburst. Once again her temper made her question if she was really right for her and if she was really the one she wanted to be with.
Nadja’s face suddenly softened, making it seem hard to believe that her eyes had blazed with such intense anger just seconds ago, deepening Rainbow’s confusion as to what she felt for the woman.
Hildegard wasn’t quiet anymore. Those days were over with and seemed to have ended overnight. Both Rainbow and Nadja noticed this weeks ago. Where Hildegard was usually mellow and more of a listener than a talker, she was now bursting with energy and had much to say, even if Rainbow couldn’t understand most of what she said.
The German woman smiled broadly and spoke animatedly when Rainbow hopped out of Nadja’s car the following Monday morning. She approached the driver’s side of the car and exchanged words with her daughter as Rainbow shut the passenger door and carried her bags towards Hildegard’s house.
Once again Rainbow noted how happy – perhaps even relieved – she was to return to Hildy. She wished she felt this way returning to Nadja on Friday nights, but whether she liked it or not it was becoming the other way around. This was partly due to her and Nadja bickering more often. It seemed Nadja was becoming tenser with time and it was getting harder to please the stubborn financial agent.
“No kiss goodbye?” Nadja said a moment later.
Rainbow turned back to her. The woman was such a crab in the mornings and getting up just to be screamed and barked at didn’t exactly start her own day off on a good note. Reluctantly, she stepped up to the car. Nadja noticed her hesitation and the woman’s cobalt blue eyes seemed to darken. Still, she kissed Nadja on the lips.
“Be good,” Nadja told her.
“As always,” Rainbow replied. “Have a good day at work.”
“Not likely,” Nadja said sarcastically, rolling her eyes as Rainbow gave Hildegard a fierce hug.
Hildegard smiled and laughed and then said something in German to Nadja as Rainbow headed for the house.
“I think she doesn’t mind being stuck with me a little while longer,” Hildegard told her daughter in German.
“And I think you’re getting too attached to her, mom,” Nadja said, also in German.
Only Nadja wasn’t laughing as she pulled away and headed for work.