I took my red umbrella from the closet and stepped out into the frigid, wispy wind of a November Saturday. I opened it, shaking off rain from the Saturday before.
“Just a quick walk.”
I pulled my jacket tighter to me, splashing through the puddles of my short driveway and onto the street. I glanced at my boots, already soaking through.
The sun barely showed through the clouds, just enough to make it visible in the grey that poured around me. The forrest on the other side of the road beckoned to me, it’s slit opposite my driveway calling my name.
I walked forward onto the trail that lead to the lake, clasping my shivering hands around the metal of my red umbrella.
This umbrella was unbelievably important to me. I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of a “water allergy,” but that’s a bit like what I had. I couldn’t go swimming, I couldn’t get caught out in the rain. I owned probably a hundred different umbrellas, all of them differing in colors and patterns. But it never did make up for not being about to feel natural water. I could still take showers, as long as the water was heavily filtered. But nothing natural.
I walked for a few minutes before the trees began to clear and I could see the pond. The light, still grey, reflected over the top of it like a mirror. The rain had slowed, leaving the body of water hardly disturbed.
I breathed in the air as I reached the dock. The pond wasn’t extremely big, but it was big enough to fish in and maybe take out a canoe. I never got the chance, but I knew someone who did.
I walked to the edge of the dock, wiping off a piece of plastic my brother had nailed down a while ago to keep me moderately dry. I sat, crossing my legs, and watched the bugs skip across the water, listening to the sound of the rain bouncing off my umbrella and dripping into the water below.
Then I heard something else: Splashing.
I looked up just in time to see him rowing out into view, his little red boat complimenting my red umbrella.
He looked up and smiled at me. I’d never met him, or talked to him, but I knew about him and he knew about me.
I waved, a small, friendly wave. He waved back and his smile widened. Why beg for the sun to come out when you have that?
He had an umbrella of his own, grey, like the water. His brown hair was however wet, his dark eyes glistening. He paddled onward, as he always did, and I stood and began to walk back home.
I sat inside, thinking about him. I heard a knock at my door, and hurried back to open it.
No one was there. I looked for a bit, wondering who would knock at 7 in the morning, until my eyes were drawn down to a small glass of water sitting on my doormat. I picked it up, careful not to spill it, then glanced at the note on the side:
“You can’t hide under that umbrella forever.”
I studied the glass, knowing already what it contained.
Water from the pond.
A smile brushed my face as I set it down on the counter next to the other glasses. Maybe if I couldn’t go to his lake, he could come to mine.
I flipped the note over, and picked up the phone.