When Nadine moved to her new home with her parents in September, the wall was a plain blank white, yet to be touched by the artistic vision of a timid young girl seeking refuge from the world in the creative space of her basement.

In October, a month after starting at her new school, Nadine found she was still having trouble making friends. Shy and in fear of the school year to come, she descended into the basement one afternoon to stroke the wall with a thin paintbrush in little streaks across an array of grays, the palette the other students saw when they looked at her.

In November, Nadine finally engaged in conversation with a few other girls in her homeroom class. Her new hope of friendship found a place on the wall as light brushstroke patterns of daisy yellow.

In December, the cute boy Nadine often admired from a distance approached her after a Math exam. She went home still blushing profusely over Alex’s interest in her, and her wall was later decorated with bubbles of bright carnation pink.

In January, Alex invited Nadine to join him on the floor at the winter dance. Her heart still fluttering as the music echoed in her ears, Nadine twirled before the wall that night while sweeping wide strokes of royal purple over it.

In February, Alex told Nadine that, although she was a nice girl, he wasn’t looking to pursue a relationship. Heartbroken over her shattered hope, she spent that evening crying through her finger-painting of drooping midnight blue waves down the wall.

In March, Nadine saw Alex kissing a cheerleader in the hallway between classes. Though she showed no reaction at school, she stormed into her basement that afternoon to hurl water balloons filled with scarlet red paint at the wall.

In April, Nadine walked past Alex and his new girlfriend holding hands as they made their way to American History. Still she said nothing, but she took time out of that late afternoon to fleck the wall with bright spots of poison green.

In May, the girls with whom Nadine had been slowly forming a friendship spent their lunch break consoling her and reassuring her that Alex was the one missing out on a great relationship. She continued to keep her emotions to herself in school, but her renewed enthusiasm drove her to spend time later that day painting bright orange bands over the gloomier colors on the wall.

In June, Nadine’s friend Amanda knocked on her front door, intent on returning the yearbook carelessly forgotten on the bus. The man who answered the door directed the visitor downstairs, where his daughter was busy channeling her creative energy. It was only when Amanda entered the basement and saw Nadine draped in a paint-stained poncho before a colorful wall that the truth finally came to light: beneath the deceptive palette of grays was a beautiful rainbow.

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