Ollie Llama: Shades of Rainbow
Ollie pedals their bike down the sidewalk and notices that rainbow flags have popped up in neighbors’ windows, doorsteps, and yards. The bright colors stand out cheerfully against the oatmeal-beige homes and blue-gray sky.
The rainbows remind Ollie of a house they once saw on the drive to visit Opa. The house was small, shaped like a triangle sitting on top of a square. But the way the house was painted made it seem HUGE. The house was striped like a rainbow! The tip of the house was red, with an orange stripe beneath it, followed by yellow, green, blue, and purple. The colors repeated until the final purple stripe skimmed the ground.
Ollie skids to a stop on their bike and turns to Diddy. “Diddy, can we stop and see the rainbow house when we go to Opa's tomorrow?”
“Sure, Ollie Cakes,” Diddy says with a grin.
The next day, Diddy, Mère, Odi, and Ollie take the short drive to the rainbow house. With eyes fixed on the house, Ollie doesn’t notice the person walking across the yard toward the sidewalk. Ollie jumps when the person says in a loud, friendly voice, “Hey folks, I’m Billy!” Billy wears a welcoming smile and the coolest sunglasses Ollie has ever seen. The sunglasses are shaped like hearts, and the lenses covered in what look like tiny rainbow sprinkles.
Noticing Ollie’s amazement, Billy asks, “Do you like rainbows?”
Ollie excitedly nods their head. “I saw a bunch of new rainbow flags when I was riding my bike yesterday and wanted to see the rainbow house. Why is your house painted like that?”
“Well," Billy begins, "when I moved into this house with my partner, one of our new neighbors didn’t like us because they didn’t understand our love for each other. They sometimes said mean things and left mean notes in our mailbox.”
Ollie’s smile droops as feelings of sadness and confusion build up inside. Billy continues, “We knew the neighbor was wrong and being unfair. So my partner and I painted our house like a rainbow to show our love for each other and the pride we feel for who we are.”
Ollie perks up a little. “Then what happened?”
“As we painted the house,” continues Billy, “our other neighbors showed up to help. Some painted with us. Others made cupcakes or dropped off tools. Eventually, seeing the support from the neighborhood, the mean neighbor stopped bothering us. Now we think our rainbow house shows the neighborhood’s pride, not just ours.”
Now smiling from eye to eye, Ollie asks, “How can I show pride?”
“That starts with loving who you are and trying to show your love on the outside. Like these sunglasses.” Billy removes the heart-shaped sunglasses and stares at them as they talk. “These are bright and colorful and remind me of who I am. Here, you take them and see if you feel the same.”
As if they were made of delicate fondant, Ollie slowly and gently takes the sunglasses from Billy and places them over their eyes. “I see a million tiny rainbows! It’s so pretty!” shouts Ollie.
“Keep them,” Billy says.
Ollie’s mouth drops open in surprise. “Oh, THANK YOU!”
All June long, all summer long, and even into the fall when the sun plays hide-and-seek with the clouds, Ollie wears the heart-shaped rainbow sunglasses, feeling proud of who they are and feeling connected to Billy and all the neighbors with rainbow flags.