Charlie’s Room: The Umbrella

When Isaac left work, it was raining. Unfortunately, he’d had to park a block away because all the closer parking spots were full. He started to jog down the sidewalk, barely able to see a few feet ahead through the pouring rain, when he passed the antique shop and paused.

There was an umbrella displayed prominently in the front window. He knew that nearly every purchase he’d made at the shop had gone wrong somehow, but after a brief struggle, he stepped through the front door. After all, what could go wrong with an umbrella? The thought made him wince, as he suddenly thought of many, many things that could go wrong. He bought the umbrella anyway.

He stepped out of the shop and raised the umbrella almost immediately. The rain stopped abruptly. It had been coming down in sheets of water one moment, and the next, there was nothing. There wasn’t even that rainy mist that is almost rain but not quite. The sky was cloudy, but the air was clear.

Isaac walked a few steps further, just to make sure it wasn’t going to change its mind and start raining again. He looked around. Everyone he could see was folding up their umbrellas, smiling, and walking more slowly.

He folded up his umbrella and right away it started raining again as though it had never stopped. People around him were yelling and running and trying to quickly raise their umbrellas again. Isaac was still holding his folded umbrella in the air. He looked at it skeptically. Did this really mean what he thought it meant?

Reaching up, he opened his new umbrella again. The rain stopped. Around him, people looked at the sky with suspicion and kept their umbrellas open.

Isaac held onto his umbrella and kept walking to his car. However, as time went on, more and more people began to fold up their umbrellas and put them away. Finally, Isaac was the only one on the sidewalk who still had his umbrella up. The way he saw it, he could fold up his umbrella and soak everyone, or he could leave it up and look foolish.

But how foolish did he really look? The sky was cloudy. It was raining less than ten minutes ago. Besides, why would anyone care? They didn’t know him, and they had their own worries and concerns.

And so, Isaac walked cheerfully to his car, holding his umbrella up when it wasn’t even raining. Once he go to his car, he put his things inside and attempted to get into his car while quickly folding up his umbrella. It was pouring rain again, even before he could close the car door.

As he drove away, umbrellas were going up again on both sides of the street, blooming like giant flowers above the heads of the rushing populace. Isaac drove slowly, because visibility wasn’t great. He wondered if he should have left the umbrella open on the back seat.

The next day was Saturday. Charlie had planned a picnic for the dinosaur club, and he was up early looking at the sky through the living room window. Isaac came in and sat on the floor next to him.

“It’s still raining,” Charlie said.

Isaac looked out. It was raining hard enough that it looked like the raindrops were bouncing when they hit the street. “It’s raining pretty hard.”

Charlie leaned forward and looked up again. “The clouds are so dark.”

Isaac nodded. “I don’t see any breaks in the clouds.”

“Do you think I should cancel the picnic?”

Isaac thought of his new umbrella. He could fix this. Except… “Even if it stopped raining, the ground would still be wet.”

Charlie sighed. “You’re right. I guess I should start calling everyone soon.”

“They could come here and have a picnic in the living room,” Isaac said.

Charlie sat up. “That’s a great idea. I’ll tell mom and call everyone and I need to make new plans. We can’t do the obstacle course, but maybe we could watch a dinosaur movie instead.” Charlie jumped up and ran out of the room. “Mom! Guess what?” His voice echoed down the hallway.

Isaac chuckled and stood up. It was time to get ready for the day. It sounded like it would be pretty busy. The rain pattered soothingly against the window. It was going to be a good day.

When it was time for the picnic, Isaac got his new umbrella from the closet. Marianne smiled. “Are you going to walk people from their cars so they don’t get too wet? That’s a great idea.”

Charlie peeked around the corner from the living room. “Thanks, Dad!”

When he went out and opened up the umbrella, the rain stopped. He stood next to the door with the open umbrella and opened the door for the guests. He got some funny looks and giggles, but everyone was dry.

When the last of the guests was inside, he closed the umbrella and quickly followed them in. He could hear the rain hiss down and drum against the sidewalk as he closed the door. He set the dry umbrella in the closet and went into the living room. He had a picnic to attend.

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