I am rather fond of umbrellas.
Especially yellow umbrellas, for they make me smile.
They are a spot of sunshine in a world of grey.
I own a smallish soft yellow umbrella, I chose it for that EXACT reason.
To remind me when it is grey…there will always be sunshine again.
However, today…walking home from the city.
It started to rain.
I thought if I hurried a bit more.
I could make it home…before the downpour began.
I passed two convenience stores, I paused wondering if I should stop and purchase an umbrella…but I’ve already purchased two…I really didn’t need to buy another, and stupidly I hadn’t brought either of them.
I sped homeward, I zipped up my navy blue fleece coat.
I nodded at the guard standing at the military gate.
Taxis were nearby…
For a mere 100 NT. I could be home in four minutes or less.
I waved, they passed.
I sped on…
And then it happened.
Slipping under the shelter of the tree by the road, I watched as the road turned into a shallow river.
Cars passed, thankfully slowing down so they didn’t drench me in wave car thrown rain.
Another taxi was coming towards me. Waving vigorously for it to stop….it passed by speeding up the road.
No one, wanted to pick up a damp foreigner…
I waited, not wanting to get drenched, but also not wanting to spend the rest of my day under a star-fruit tree waiting for the rain to stop.
Weighing my options I couldn’t decide if I should go forward or backwards…
Another taxi passed, ignoring my waving arms.
I stood there watching the rain fall, sipping my coffee, trying to decide, and praying for wisdom on what to do next.
Then it happened.
A white car stopped on the other side of the road, flashers blinking, they parked next to the house practically on top of the road. I couldn’t see inside the dark windows.
I wondered three things, “Do they live there? Are they going to offer me a ride? Are they lost?”
Trying not to get my hopes up, I looked away, listening for the possibility of a car window rolling down. Of words in Chinese or English being spoken… “Need a ride?” or “Xiao Jei li, li, li!”
Seconds passed into a minute…
Glancing up the hill I watched for another taxi, wondering if the next one would be in just a big a hurry as the last few.
A car door opened.
A petite woman tiptoed quickly across the road, a black, closed umbrella in her hand.
“For you,” she said putting it into my hand, and then tip-toed quickly back across the road before I barely had a moment to say thank you. The car door closed, I opened up the umbrella, bowing my gratefulness.
The car pulled away and disappeared up the hill.
I watched it go, glancing up at my new big black umbrella, and felt strangely like Jo March…under The Professor’s big black worn umbrella. The warmth, the kindness, the thoughtfulness, the worn and used pattern on the umbrella told of it’s use in rain and sunshine, of years of care…given to a complete stranger standing under a star-fruit tree in the middle of a deluge.