The Matchmaking Umbrella
Abigail H. Leskey
He was such a rude young man that even I knew he was a rude young man, and I am an umbrella. A dark green, small umbrella, to be more detailed, with a black handle with a pearlescent green hook at the end of it. I belonged to a young lady named Margie, with golden curls and often a small navy and cerise hat.
And Harmon was trying to kiss Margie, despite that she was trying to get away. "You're my best girl, " he said, holding onto her arms. "Can't I have a kiss? "
"I. Said. No." Margie said.
He was rude and rude people don't dry umbrellas. And he was making Margie sad, which would make her go out in the rain without me, which would make me sad. So I swung myself up in the air and into the side of his head, forcefully. He said something rude, so I did it again. "I didn't mean to do that! " Margie gasped, but he had jumped back and was shouting.
"Now I know what kind of girl you are! Little vixen! " He stormed out of the house, knocking over the umbrella stand!
Margie cried until I felt like I ought to be open under her eyes, even if we were in the house, there was so much water falling on the floor.
She didn’t use me for months after that, but, finally, that autumn, she took me out on a rainy October day. I carefully looked at all the young men and how they were treating their umbrellas, trying to find a new one for Margie. A new young man, not a new umbrella.
A tall one with messy hair, and a scar on his face—and he was carefully holding an umbrella over the head of a short old lady as he escorted her to a shop beside Margie and me. He handed the old lady’s umbrella to her and smiled, and began walking away.
I caught a gust of wind and flew after him, dragging Margie after me, and very skillfully made her run right into him, and then, as my final feat, turned inside out. He caught her, of course. “Are you all right, ma’am?”
“I’m fine—sorry, I—the wind blew my umbrella—“ She backed away from him, as cerise as her hat trimming.
“May I fix it?” he asked, and she smiled and handed me over to him, and he turned me right side out.
“Thanks,” she said, taking me again. “I wouldn’t have liked walking home with an inside out umbrella.”
“You’re more than welcome, ma’am,” he said with a smile. “Might I walk you home? The wind’s still strong.”
“Oh, thank you!” she said, letting him take me back.
We walked home, and he stayed to dinner. By next spring, they were kissing under me and she was taking me on trousseau shopping trips.
Six years after they married, they bought raincoats and I was put away in an attic, which made me sad. But I understood. They needed free hands so they could hold onto all four of their children.
I spent more than six decades in the attic, and then I was put in an umbrella stand in a store with many other umbrellas, beside shelves full of hats. I didn’t see a navy and cerise one.
One day, a girl with no hat but with golden hair looked at me and at a red umbrella longingly and, finally, she chose me. Now I hang in her bedroom.
She says she’s planning to take me to college. I do think I’ll be able to find her a nice young man there. All I’ll need is a gust of wind.
Copyright 2017 by Abigail H. Leskey