by: Rebecca Taylor

I am blue and covered with yellow stars. I have a handle that is shaped like a ‘J’ and it is padded with soft luxurious waterproof foam. I am an umbrella, and until last week, I belonged to Jade Pendleton. Jade had just finished work as a nurse at Pinedale Hospital; she had stepped out onto the sidewalk and pressed my button so I covered her from the pelting rain falling from the sky. We began our ten-minute walk from the hospital to the apartment where we live. When we were half way there, near the intersection of Klassen and Grand Streets, Jade saw a kitten crying in an abandoned parking lot and reached down to pick up the sopping ball of orange fur. When she bent over to scoop it up, she lessened her grip on me, and when a gust of wind brushed over us, I flew out of her hand and up into the air. She couldn’t come after me because she was holding onto the kitten. She must have headed for home, fighting her way through the brisk winds and cascading rain, holding securely to her new friend. I flew through the air, landing a few moments later in a river. I floated downstream with my heart caught in my handle as I attempted to steer myself out of the way of rocks and keep myself from being pulled under by the forceful current. Even though I am waterproof, I should not be immersed in large pools of water and drowned. I am meant to protect humans against basic rainy conditions, but dislike swimming.

            I fought for my life in the water for at least an hour before I washed up on shore. This is where I lay muddy and shivering listening to the claps of thunder, flashes of lightening and changing speeds of the raindrops falling to Earth.

            “We’ve got some storm here,” said Thunder. “Ready Lightening? I love the brightness you project, and you make a great light in the dark.”

            “Here we go,” answered Lightening sending a streak of light downwards. I curled up in a ball hoping that it would not hit me.

            “I’m falling,” shouted the multitude of raindrops. “I love the rush I get from it.”

            “This is the life,” answered Thunder sending another powerful bang towards me.

I just lay there, dirty, soppy and frightened thinking about Jade and how good it would be to be home with such a kind caring person instead of alone and lost. Whenever I was with Jade I felt like a good umbrella, because Jade helped me have a better life. She let other people on the street take cover beneath me when they were headed in her direction, and she was always happy regardless of how her day had been. I heard her talking with her colleagues sometimes about her the struggles of caring for patients in a hospital but her mood never seemed to waver, she was a calm person, and it made me feel at peace. Thinking about Jade helped me forget what was happening around me for a few minutes, and after a while the sounds of some of Mother Nature’s elements withdrew their presence and I lay quietly wondering what was going to happen to me. I could smell the change in the air, like a musty room that had been refreshed.

            During the next three days I stayed washed up on the shore watching the sky change with the rising and setting of the sun and the clouds becoming all sorts of different things, from fish to mountains and almost anything imaginable. On the forth day of being stranded, a woman and a dog were playing Frisbee when the dog brought me back to his owner instead of his red plastic saucer. The dog held onto me with his teeth but he didn’t hurt me just held me firmly, proudly handing his catch to his owner.

            “Good boy, Hugo, an umbrella. Wonder where it came from. It looks like it was a pretty one once, let’s get it home, and cleaned up so we can see what it’s supposed to look like.”

            The woman whose name was Emma Murray, took me home, and put me in the bathtub to soak in hot soapy water. It felt good against my cold muddy bones. She changed the water a few times until I had been restored to my usual lustre. She dried me with a towel and then she opened me in the house. I’d never been opened inside before, too many superstitions about bad luck had fluttered around with that theory, but Emma didn’t seem to care, she only wanted what was best for me. She laid me on the floor in the spare room and let the breeze from the fan circulate around me so I would finish drying. When this process was complete, she folded me back up, tied me with the snap, and lay me on the dresser by the front door to be used as needed. I knew that this would now be my new home. I was floored by the kindness she had shown me, a stray object that had been washed ashore. She didn’t have to clean me up or give me a home but she did. I couldn’t help but think how ironic it was that I had been lost when Jade performed an act of kindness for the kitten that had needed her, and I needing a new home had been found and given a chance by Emma Murray and her dog Hugo. I cannot help believe that there are angels on Earth looking out for even the smallest of beings.