When Pharoah and Lafeyette go to buy some fries near their house, they run into Rickey, who has just spent a few weeks in jail for theft, and invite him along. Rickey buys Pharoah fries, while Lafeyette purchases his own. Suddenly, Pharoah begins to stutter excitedly, pointing to the first rainbow he has ever seen. The three boys are impressed by the sight, and Pharaoh suggests that they go chase it. Lafeyette refuses, considering this idea childish, but Rickey follows Pharoah. The two of them run after the rainbow before realizing that they cannot do so, as the rainbow has vanished back into the sky.
Despite Rickey’s experiences with violence and jail, this has not affected his friendship, as he still proves willing to please Pharoah. Most importantly, though, he proves just as excited as Pharoah at the sight of a rainbow, thus demonstrating that his violent behavior has not erased his capacity to behave like an innocent child. If anything, Lafeyette is more despondent and cynical than he is, and even less capable of expressing his emotions and his vulnerability.
When they return to Lafeyette, Pharoah is disappointed because he thought he might find out if there truly is a treasure at the rainbow’s end. He had hoped so hard that he might make a wish for his family, so that Terence could get out of jail and they could find a house outside the project that the mere thought of this makes him cry. Lafeyette later admits that he, too, had nursed a secret hope to discover something more magical than their bleak reality.
Despite Lafeyette and Pharoah’s opposing external attitudes toward the rainbow, both boys are secretly moved by the same desire: to see their life improve and their family’s well-being increase. Both of them want to enjoy the full fruits of their childhood, but are forced to give up on some of their dreams.