Readers Gazette Short Stories


Short Story Umbrella

Umbrella by Haidji Inspirational short story

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It was cold.
Not the nice winter cold—snow outside, skis waiting close by, sun shining over the mountain.
No.

It was cold and humid like it is after days and days of rain, shortly before the real winter starts.
The end of a season. Before the start of a new one.

Cold like it is when things die. Cold like it is when autumn leaves die into their end, giving space for the emptiness that winter needs to be able to begin to freeze the rest of everything that one day had been…Spring.

Cold like it is when dreams die.
The rain knocking on Emily’s window always made her think about friends knocking on the window’s glass, asking her to go outside. As would a window be a door you can see through. But it was raining. And cold.
Emily didn’t want to go outside.
She missed her Umbrella.

***

It was a couple of months ago, the first rainy day in the middle of the summer, when Emily was walking around in the center of the city, on her way to her appointment with the dentist. Braces! Every month she had an appointment to practically spend 40 - 45 minutes just waiting in the waiting room, for only 10 minutes inside the treatment room, to see if all the metal pieces where working well and tight, making her teeth a little bit more together, or apart, in the right direction. Maybe to justify the price her parents had to pay for the treatment, the dentist made it almost one hour in total.

She did not have an umbrella, and summer tempests came mostly unexpected. Who would think about buying an umbrella, when jumping from tree shadow into the next tree shadow, because the air is so hot?
The rain was refreshing for the first few minutes, but after a while it was too wet. Wet as only water can be, entering through her 100 percent cotton dress, turning her red hair darker, while rain drops were sliding over her face as would they be competing with her freckles, sliding over her skin and trying to reach the bones under her flesh.
Emily could swear that she was wet all the way into her bones.

Emily entered the shop. Lots of umbrellas. The shop owner, unlike her, watched the weather forecast on his iPhone.
Emily’s iPhone was for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other essential apps. Who needs the weather forecast, anyway?
“Another girl with an iPhone who didn’t see the rain coming…” mumbled the old shop owner, as she entered the shop holding her iPhone, of course.
“Another adult that doesn’t know what iPhones are here for…” mumbled Emily to herself, as she heard him mumbling.

Emily saw lots of umbrellas, in different rows, in all colors and designs.
Looking around, she found a row of beautiful ones, black with a white fringe. A white fringe that was like embroidery, around the entire edge of the umbrella itself. They had it in all colors: black and pink, black and grey, black and blue, black and green, black and black and probably ten of the black and white one, the one she liked most.
Emily decided for the black and white one.
She picked it up, and once it was out of the large mass of umbrellas, the umbrella was really cool.

It was nice to walk under the rain. This umbrella had something…almost romantic…with the white fringe. It was not too romantic or girly, and it was not too minimalistic.

But, as unexpectedly as summer tempests start, they finish.
As she arrived to her appointment at the dentist, the rain had stopped and Emily was carrying the still-soaking-wet umbrella in her hands.

During her 45 Minutes in the waiting room, the umbrella was next to her.
When Ms. Clare, the dentist’s receptionist finally called her name, she rushed out of the waiting room and into the treatment room without her umbrella.
Ten Minutes later, rushing out of the treatment room, Emily completely forgot about the umbrella.

As much as she loved it, she remembered it only on the next day, as the summer rain came back.
Emily called the dentist.
“Hello, this is Emily. I forgot my umbrella yesterday; is it still there?”
“No, no umbrella here, I’m sorry”, said Ms. Angela, one of the dentist’s receptionists.
“Oh, it was so cool. Someone else must have taken it. Can you ask Ms. Clare about it?”
“I will ask her, but I don’t think so, maybe you forgot it somewhere else.”
“Maybe…”
Emily was disappointed.

Needless to say, she was completely wet for probably 3 or 4 more rainy days, but she didn’t want to buy a new umbrella. Her pocket money was not that much and the rain would stop sometime.
On one of those days, her Uncle Geert saw her walking around with no umbrella, under the heavy rain.
“Hi Emily, where is your umbrella? You will get a cold, walking under the rain.”
“Hi Uncle Geert, I lost it.”
“You don’t have another one?” asked Uncle Geert, as would it be the most common thing in the world to have two of everything.
“No…” said Emily.
“Next time, buy two. Hear my advice. Now, go have a hot shower, change and when the rain stops, go and see if you can find the same one again and buy two of them,” said her Uncle, while walking Emily home sheltered by under his own umbrella.
“…” Emily could not speak out her answer immediately.
After a while she said:
“Thanks, Uncle Geert.”

Emily did not go to the shop to buy two new umbrellas. The next day was a sunny day.

The rainy days were over anyway.
Emily did not think about it anymore.
At her next dentist appointment, she did not ask about it.

***

She did not think about it until…
Until this day, as the rain was falling, knocking on her window, as would it be trying to convince her to go out to watch the end of the world, or a similar spectacle.
Emily went out and arrived at the umbrella shop, completely wet again.
Like the first time.
“No weather forecast on your iPhone?” asked the owner.
“No, this time it was already raining when I went out of the house, sir,” answered Emily.

The same shop, but a new collection.
There were no more like the one she liked.

Maybe she should start to do things like her Uncle Geert, and follow his advice. He used to buy the things he liked, in double, like identical twin versions. In his words: “If one breaks, I have always new one.” He did it with shoes, radios, pants, actually with almost everything: from pencils to iPhones. Not that his kids could use his extra iPhone. No, it was still unwrapped in the original package for an emergency. No one could ever figure out what kind of emergency Uncle Geert was always thinking about.
“Maybe one day he will have two houses, in a mirror image, to keep his spare things”, Emily used to think, when she was a small girl.

Some persons like this really exist outside of books and stories. Uncle Geert was one of those persons. No author could create a character that could be so eccentric (eccentric is a nice word to replace ‘weird’ and ‘crazy’, which you can use when you like someone), like the real Uncle Geert. The author would need to slow him down a lot, to make him more real than the real one could ever be, in a book. In a book, Uncle Geert would not buy two mattresses for his bed, only one…in real life, one mattress was under the bed, just in case something happened to the other one. Money was in the bank and the same amount of money was under the second mattress. “Just in case the bank explodes, or a President decides to seize all the citizens’ money, like it happened once in a South American country, where in 1990 the first act of a President was to confiscate most of the money in all citizens’ current and savings accounts. Good looking and a millionaire, he was the first President elected in a post-military era…he defrauded the country of a billion dollars, before he was thrown out of office and forced to flee the country. Nowadays he is back, and was elected a Senator. If it happens there…it can happen here too,” explained Uncle Geert.

Uncle Geert thought about everything twice. He was proud about that.
Robbers who entered his house were happy about it too…when they found the money and all the double new stuff. But that is another story.

For Uncle Geert, it was like “Good that I had it twice, otherwise I would have nothing now. They took only the half!” And he went out to buy all the things again. Not easy, to find the same things again. “So, should I buy three…?” Uncle Geert decided to stay with the twin version of things. He was probably the only person in the whole world who understood his own logic. Even if he liked everything in double, he was unique. Eccentric. Double Eccentric.

These kinds of people really exist. Mostly outside of books. They would be too surreal to be inside of a story.

But no, Emily wasn’t like that.
Emily liked special things, unique things.

She decided, due to the circumstances, to buy one that was black outside and silver inside. It was not the same, but it would fulfill its duty, and that was to keep Emily more or less dry, under the rain.
She kind of liked it. She could not say that it was amazing or that she loved it, but she liked it.

There were more raindrops knocking on her window, asking her to come outside. It was good to have the new silver/black umbrella.
Autumn was coming to its end, killing the last leaves on the streets. Washing the rest away, to create the clean emptiness for winter to come.

***

It wasn’t an easy morning. Her brother Heiko came back home. His umbrella was a simple black one; like teenage boys liked to use, feeling as would they be adults already. Broken, because he used it as a sword, fighting with a friend at school.
“Heiko, what happened?” asked Emily.
“It wasn’t my fault… We were both pulling on the sides of the umbrella, teasing each other, and it broke…”
“Yes…it is an umbrella…not an samurai sword, Heiko. It is not a toy.”
“Whatever it is…it is broken.” Heiko was sad about it, of course; he wasn’t play-acting. He was genuinely sad. “Your silver/black one is cool. More cool than a black one. It looks more like a samurai sword. Not that I would play with a samurai sword, I’m 15 years old. I don’t play. I hang out.”

Emily went to the dentist again,
Without any real hope, she decided to ask again about the old umbrella. Ms. Clare was there again.
“Ms. Clare, remember a couple of months ago? I think I forgot my umbrella here. It was a black and white one.”

“Oh Emily, is it yours? It is so cute! I need to apologize, I was using it sometimes! No one asked about it.”
“Can I have it back?” asked Emily, wondering if Ms. Clare had decided to keep it forever.
“Of course. I will give it to you after your appointment.”
As Emily came out of the treatment room, she had to ask Ms. Clare for it, again; but, after asking again, Ms. Clare gave her the umbrella back.

The umbrella had come back. It was still new.
Once home, Emily gave the silver and black umbrella to Heiko.
“Here, a new sword…umbrella for you to play…I mean hang out with your friends under the rain…Heiko.”
“Cool…thanks Emily.” Heiko started to open and close the umbrella to see how it worked.
“I hope it rains tomorrow,” said Heiko.
I hope so too, thought Emily.

Emily woke up the next morning, with the sound of friends knocking on the window glass. Transparent friends. Friends you can see through the transparent door, also called a glass window.

It was a tempest, a real one. Emily was happy about it.
The rain fell like a curtain over the edge of her umbrella.
Emily was dry and safe under the umbrella.
Singing with the rain, on her way through the street.

When something belongs to you, it comes back to you, even if you move forward, even if you give up or try to replace it.
It comes back.

Because once taken out of the mass, things that you like are unique.
They are not replaceable.
Because even if you think you gave up, your heart never does.
It can happen that suddenly: your heart voice whispers to you, and you decide to ask again, once more, just in case, for what you love.

And it comes back to you, making you feel happy and safe under a tempest, as would it be the most beautiful sunny day.

This short story is included in Haidji's book Harables, scroll down to her info to find the book.
To see more of Haidji, click the link to her website or scroll down to the bottom of the page to view her member details Visit Haidji Blogspot

Images used for the story are black umbrellas wallpapers at flickr.com

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Short Story written by Haidji

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click the book image to see more about the book.

It was cold. Not the nice winter cold—snow outside, skis waiting close by, sun shining over the mountain. No. It was cold and humid like it is after days and days of rain, shortly before the real winter starts. ...

Harables: Short Stories 1 by Haidji

Harables (Short Stories 1) brings together eighteen of Haidji’s short stories. Each story is prefaced with a hint of what’s inside, for example: “To be shaped for life is never easy…”. “Life seemed to be just a letter, or a few words, in the metaphor of the Earth’s biography.” “All lines are drawings!”… “For the Earth to survive, for the human race to survive, we need to overcome our own survivor instinct.” Every reader will have their own favourites among...



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