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The Forgotten Umbrella

The Forgotten Umbrella

By Sandy Lo

©September 2011

It was the last period of the day. Dee Dee sat in her English class watching the rain pour down outside the window. It was soothing to hear the heavy pounding against the panes. The noise drowned the teacher out; it drowned out her best friend, Tess, sitting next to her.
“Dee?” Tess snapped her fingers in front of Dee Dee’s face.
“Huh?”
Tess laughed, but turned serious, “I asked how your mom was doing.”

Dee Dee thought about her mother and how ever since her father left her for another woman, she’d been depressed. The depressed part was to be expected, but Dee Dee couldn’t understand her parents’ need to still talk on the phone, still argue, use her, and then ignore her.
Dee Dee shrugged, “She just talks about him constantly.”
“Wow, it’s really coming down,” Tess said, nodding toward the window. “Did you bring an umbrella?”
“I forgot.”

Usually her mother reminded her to bring an umbrella if the weather called for rain. Dee Dee always hated when Mom forced her to bring one. She would always leave it at home if she could help it. Most of the time, there was nothing but a drizzle anyhow.

Today, there was no reminder. Well, there was one reminder, but not about umbrellas and rain.

“Call your father after school. Invite him over for dinner on Sunday.”

Dee Dee had groaned. She didn’t have much to talk about with her father. Mostly because he just talked about himself and would say how Dee Dee is just like him. Her mother and father always made his visits to the house seem like they were about Dee Dee, but in actuality, those visits were about them. Dee Dee felt invisible with no voice, and feelings that didn’t exist to her parents.
Dee Dee would usually be happy she got out of bringing an umbrella, but it just showed her how much her mother wasn’t paying attention these days. What was worse is today was not a drizzly day.

The bell rang, and thankfully Tess brought a huge umbrella that they could both fit under. They huddled together the entire walk down to the bus stop. The only problem: Dee Dee was still getting wet. Tess was much taller than her, and the height different left room for rain to still get Dee Dee. By the time they got to the shelter of the bus stop, Dee Dee’s entire right side had patches of wet spots.

Tess’ bus came right away. She hugged Dee Dee before disappearing onto the bus. Dee Dee’s bus came a minute later. Once she was seated, she found herself zoning out again, watching the rain hit the windows of the bus. She could hear the cars driving against the wet streets and see puddles splashing against sidewalks as the bus went by. Dee Dee went numb on that bus ride. The rain relaxed her. It washed away the millions of thoughts that went through her mind.

Aside from her parents, the typical high school things were overwhelming at times. Friends. Boys. Homework. Everyone says high school is easy and the best time of their life. Dee Dee wondered if those people had forgotten high school all together.

Before she knew it, the bus lurched to her stop. The rain hadn’t let up. Dee Dee stepped off the bus and was immediately drenched. The rain soaked her hair, ran down her face, and made her clothes stick to her. She began to walk home and felt a smile tug at her lips, glad she didn’t have an umbrella.

There were no spokes to poke her in the eye or get tangled in her hair. There was nothing the wind could turn inside out. There was just the rain hitting Dee Dee’s skin and she loved it. She enjoyed walking in it. She felt alive with the feeling. She didn’t feel invisible anymore or ignored. This was real unlike the façade she faced at home. Walking in the rain, unprotected, she didn’t have to pretend to like her father. She didn’t have to pretend she wasn’t resentful toward her mother for putting everything into a man who didn’t deserve it.

Dee Dee wondered if an umbrella really was just a shield from reality. She didn’t get how people protect themselves from things as painless and as natural as rain, yet our hearts are given away so easily to people that are out to break them.

Dee Dee made it to her front door. She shut her eyes, enjoying the rain for one more minute before stepping back into her cloak of invisibility.

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