Today, I used an umbrella for the first time. Sure, I used to play with them, but on sunny days. I was always afraid to practice opening them, because they ejected themselves widely, violently. They looked pretty arranged in a bucket, like flower buds, in stores or magazines, but were dangerously beautiful when paraded as cover. We should all be as lucky as an umbrella, pretty in the rain.
I have hidden under the umbrellas of other people who would share.
My father has a collection of golf umbrellas, one of which I bet I gave him. (If you’re interested, it’s the SUNY Brockport, green and gold extra large umbrella, and retails for $29.98. I’m sure he has guiltily donated it to a thrift store, though I’m not sure it’s still there.)
I’ve never been very pragmatic, which is why I never bought the $10 umbrella strategically placed at the entrance of superstores on soggy days. I’d rather let my hair slither and curl up.
My mother has a petite collection, suited to her size. All in neutrals. In fact, the tan umbrella that kept me dry this morning on my trek across campus used to be hers, and she gave it to my son so he could play with it. He took it home, and I carried it to campus today.
I hurried to class this morning, thanking my wellies for keeping my feet dry, and my umbrella for keeping my hair dry. I was careful not to let the bat-wing like fabric of my umbrella scrape those around me. I steadied my arm when the wind threatened to pick my umbrella and me up and hurl us into an enemy.
I reached the glass doors that beaded over with drops, and begged the little umbrella to close up while the rain pelted my head. Students walked by me, snapping their polka dotted or plaid umbrellas closed. Still, I fought with my umbrella. They whisked their umbrellas under arm and out of the rain. Mine was a soggy mess like a cranky toddler. It was my anxiety that made me feel like the students were laughing inside–or maybe they really were.
Either way, a mean person invented the superstition about not bringing an open umbrella indoors.
I’m not sure if I’ll use an umbrella next week, though I’m sure I’ll need it.
Oh, umbrella, the reason I’ll just walk a little faster in the rain.