The Last Umbrella

002

I approach the park bench and see a bird sitting on top of it. He looks at me as if he wants to say, “Hey, this is my bench. Go and find your own.”

I consider it for a moment, but then the bird flies away. I wonder if he can see how unhappy I am and decided he didn’t want to be around me. If so, I can’t blame him. I’ve barely wanted to be around myself lately.

I sit on the bench and start to calm down. It begins raining and my calmness turns to anger. I hate rain. Being here in the park is supposed to relax me, but now I’m miserable. Hoping the rain will stop soon, I prop open my umbrella and force myself to stay on the bench.

I don’t know why, but I suddenly think back to my days as a child playing outside. Back then, I didn’t worry about anything. If it began to rain, I didn’t care. I’d just keep playing. I would never even consider using an umbrella back then. I’d let myself get drenched and I was perfectly happy with that.

I sit here now and envy that boy. I miss him.

I close the umbrella and sit it next to me. My eyes are now shut and my head rests on the back of the bench. It’s raining much harder now, but it feels good on my face.

It surprises me how quickly my mood is changing. I feel very relaxed. Very at peace.

I continue to sit and the rain keeps getting heavier. I don’t open my eyes and I don’t move. I just take it all in and enjoy every second of it.

I listen to the rain and the sounds of nature that surround me and think that it sounds like a beautiful kind of music that I’ve never heard before.

But I quickly realize I’m wrong. The boy who used to play in the rain would always hear that music. Not only that, but he always felt that music.

I smile. I no longer miss or envy that boy from years ago.

I am still him.

I am again feeling the music of nature.

I am again feeling the music of life.

There is somewhere I need to be, so I rise from the bench. I go to reach for my umbrella, but I no longer want it.

I leave the umbrella on the bench for someone who needs it more than I do.

As I walk away, I hope that no one ever takes it.

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Flash Fiction: Dinner With An Old Friend

Me and Sam sat across from each other at my kitchen table and were about to have dinner. It was supposed to be a happy occasion, but Sam knew me well and he could tell something was bothering me.

“What’s wrong with you?” He asked. “After all these years, we finally did it. Why aren’t you happy?”

“I don’t know. Even though we hated him, maybe we shouldn’t have killed him,” I said.

Sam looked at me like I was crazy. “What? All the rotten things he did to us and now you’re feeling guilty? ”

“Maybe we went too far,” I said. “Sure, he did a lot of bad things, but maybe we should have forgiven him.”

“Forgiven him? Pink snowbunnies would have had to ski in hell before I ever forgave him. He had this coming!”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right.” I looked down at what was in the dinner bowls that sat in front of each of us. “I just can’t believe we’re about to eat him.”

Sam let out a big laugh. “Don’t go trying to fool me, pal. You’ve been wanting to do this as much as I have and you know it.”

I put my nose close to my bowl and took a whiff. “He does smell kind of delicious, doesn’t he?”

“Then, what are we waiting for?” Sam asked. “Let’s dig in.”

We both began eating and all my earlier concerns were put to rest. “This is the best Wabbit Stew I’ve ever had,” I said.

“I agree, Elmer. Now, could you pass me a little salt, please?”