By Vickie Zosi

It was raining. A raging storm brewed. The dark clouds emptied icy droplets of rain upon the ground that formed into little rivulets.   It was cold, windy and wet. The threat of thunder claps and flashes of lightning loomed.

She hated the rain. She hated the rain on her shoes, on her skirt. She loathed how cold and damp her nose would get in the rain. Oblivious to all her misery…the storm bellowed on. Thunder clapped now and it shook her to the core. She stood there… in the shade of a building’s ledge to keep herself dry…wondering where to go next and was puzzled at lack of clues.

The universe sent her an umbrella vendor! How thoughtful of the universe. She was ill prepared for the rain…despite it having rained severely the days before. This was really a bad habit she’d developed. Her lack of foresight had caught her off guard many a times before.   The joy of seeing the rain soaked umbrella vendor was unfathomable. The irony of it all made her chuckle but the sight of the bright orange umbrella made her beam with joy!

She got the umbrella, opened it up and just like that…she was dazed. The colors! It had beautiful tropical colors. See this umbrella, had a tropical beach silhouette all over it. It hypnotized her. For moments on end, that she did not notice pass by, she forgot about the storm, she forgot about the rain. The cold wind bit at her no longer and she felt all warm. She got lost on her tropical paradise. She took walks on the beach and dipped her toes in the ocean. She picked sea shells from the shore and stuffed the sandy little gems in her pockets…keepsakes…memoirs. She did all she could to remain here…in her now tropical storm. Meanwhile it rained on.

Unbeknownst to her, her lover was nearby. In that rain; that horrible storm.  He saw her under her umbrella, in her moment of light headedness. He reached for her. She turned her back. She did not hear him call, did not see him beckon. Her tropical umbrella covered her head to foot and she would have nothing else in that moment. Him, he was drenched! Soaked through and through in the rain. He shivered.

He called out and she heard him this time and said there wasn’t enough space for the both of them under her brolly. She lied. She wanted this joy for herself and would not give it up for no one. Not even for him. Her “Ms. Hyde” had shown her head. For a while he begged to have her let him in and she shut him out. Finally he took the reins. He grabbed the colorful shade out of her hands and showed her he knew the truth- knew that she had lied.

They stood there. In the storm…and lord was it getting worse!  It rained hard on them and felt as though the rain drops were hail stones. It poured on them and they lashed out on each other. She explained that the umbrella helped stand the storm while he was hurt at her lies. He was hurt. He pointed out to her that he had called and beckoned, signaled and tried to halt her. He had attempted to bring her head out of the clouds but her difficult self was…well difficult. Anger and rage made them both say things they shouldn’t have. Things that  cannot- should not  be repeated.

She justified and defended herself the whole time and never realized that he was hurt. He was hurt. She had given no hoots about it before…she was too busy on her magical tropical island. He had been stuck in the storm…figuring his way out. Trying to see how he could get both of them to dry land…but she had turned her back…denied him warmth, denied him peace.

The hypnotizing umbrella was now cast to the side. He said that all he could see on her face now was the reflection of its tropical colors and that image was imprinted on his subconscious. There for life.  She knew that he would never forget.   She longed for her umbrella but knew that in order to help her lover with the hurt…she had to let it go. However, in that moment, she knew that she had lost him.

Finally, she saw past her own nose and she tried to rescue her lover and her. She tried to work this miracle. It felt like trying to salvage the titanic moments after it hit the iceberg. Late, she was too late!  She tried to cover him with her hands…and he shooed them away, tried using her jacket but it was just too small. She cried apologies over and over and his ears were deaf to them. He still hurt.

The universe sent him a vendor. He copped himself an umbrella and started to walk off. She tried to stop him…tried to keep him by her side…tried to get under his umbrella. He walked a little too fast, she couldn’t keep up. He had made up his mind. So she stood there…in the eye of the storm…licking tear flavored rain off her lips. He was walking away with a heavy heart. She stood there with hers in pieces…regrets galore…tear choked. She had to let him walk. So she let go.

He turned over his shoulder as he walked away and looked back at her. He mouthed “it’s my fault too”.

They both wiped tears off their cheeks and walked on as the rain slowly let up.