Unwaterproofed: A Fairy Tale

In the midst of London on the bank of the Thames River there once was a little shop. This shop was filled with umbrellas that lined the walls, stacked up from the floors, and hung from the ceilings. There were black umbrellas of several sizes, grey umbrellas of some sizes, and brown umbrellas of small sizes.

And in the very back of the shop.

Behind the blacks, grays, and browns.

There was a little woven basked marked, “clearance.”

And in this lonely little basket there was one lonely little umbrella.

She had no reason to be hidden away in the basket because she was the most exquisite umbrella in the entire shop. Her fabric was a delicate whipcreamy strawberry and vanilla pinstripe and she was fringed with soft twirlings of lace like a dusting of powdered sugar on the most scrumptious of desserts. Just one little glance at her would inspire a person’s heart to twirl with the most secret of smiles, so why was she here in the dingy corner of the shop amongst the dust bunnies?

She had been left to this lonely place because she had one fatal flaw in all of her umbrella perfection – she was not waterproof. And as a result she was an umbrella who had no chance of surviving in the foggy, musty, rain soaked city of London. Knowing this made her heart sag with hopelessness, and she saw her future stretched before her like the weave in, weave out pattern of the basket that she was never destined to leave.

Or so she thought.

For on one seemingly average afternoon a young lady came into the shop. It was not unusual for young ladies to come in, but most of them stayed where the most popular umbrellas were displayed.  This young lady was different.

After she entered the shop her chiffon skirts ruffled past the black umbrellas, her soft gloves skimmed over the folds of the gray umbrellas, her blossemy hat brushed past the brown umbrellas, and her tiny heels clickity clacked right up to the “clearance” basket. The young lady then reached in and pulled out… her. For both of them it was love at first sight.

The next thing the little umbrella knew was that she was being cradled in the young lady’s arms, safe from the drip drops of the rain that drizzled outside of the shop. Soon she was bustled into a house where she was carefully wrapped in crinkly peach tinted tissue paper, and laid into a trunk. The lid closed, the copper latches clicked into place, and it was dark.

She waited in the shadowy silence, and with a little jolt the trunk was moved. She heard and felt the rhythm of wheels rolling across cobbled stone streets. She listened to seagulls singing their sailor’s songs. She heard creaky wood and the splishing splashing of water. And then… she wasn’t sure how long she was in that place, but every moment was full of the delight of this one thought, “She chose me! Of all the umbrellas in the entire shop, she chose me!”

But even then darkness lingered on the outskirts of her heart. Why was she chosen? She wasn’t waterproof and what’s the use of an unwaterproofed umbrella? But before the question could be answered, the trunk was moved again. The copper latches rattled open. The lid creaked upwards. The tissue paper uncrinkled. And once more she was clasped in the soft gloved hands of the young lady.

But where were they? There was no Thames River. No foggy, musty rain. There wasn’t even the gray slate sky overhead. Instead everything felt warm and toasty like fresh crumpets, and the sun glittered from above like the gold of a princess’s tiara.

And it was in this moment that the little whipcreamy umbrella of strawberry, vanilla, and lace was unfolded by the young lady as she set her clickity clack heels on the soil of India.

And it was in this moment that the little umbrella discovered who she was meant to be.

And it was in this moment her name was changed for forever. She was no longer an unwaterproofed umbrella.

She was a parasol.

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