Friday, September 14, 2012

The Turquoise Umbrella

Ella leaned against the sink, scrubbing glued-on scrambled eggs from plastic plates.  It was two o'clock in the afternoon and the fact that she was just now tackling the morning dishes gives you an idea of the day she'd had.  Frustration fueled her scouring.

Over the gurgle of the running water, Ella thought she heard a knock.  She turned off the faucet and paused to listen.  Silence.  Grabbing two more eggy plates, she flicked the stream of hot water on and went back to work.  Knock, knock.  There it was again.

Ella turned off the water, listening.  Nothing except the gurgling of the rain gutters.  She looked over the back fence and watched the rain streaming from the ceiling of grey clouds.  "To have a few moments outside to enjoy this rain," she thought.  She eyed the slimy dishes and the crusted pan and sighed.  

Then she heard it again.  A faint knocking sound.  She grabbed a towel and tripped over a jumble of toys on her way to the front door.

"Who's there?"

A turquoise umbrella floated in mid-air and bumped against her screen door.  Perplexed, Ella looked toward the street wondering to whom this mysterious umbrella might belong.  She saw no one and nervously dried her hands.  She rocked on her feet a moment before deciding to investigate.

As she pushed open the screen door, the umbrella floated back a few feet and then stopped, bobbing under the covered porch.  Was this a trick?  A joke?  Where were the wires?  And the hidden camera?  Ella smiled, just in case, and reached out toward the wooden handle of the umbrella.  She half expected it to fly away, but it didn't.  In fact, the umbrella, seeming to sense her hesitancy, wafted toward her, slipping into her trembling hand.  

Immediately, Ella felt the heels of her slippers raise off the porch step.  Feeling just her toes on the ground, she gasped and let go of the umbrella.  She stepped back clumsily and reached for the doorjamb.  The turquoise umbrella bobbed, but stayed under the eaves of the porch.  Ella worried her lip and considered going back in the house, until she spotted something on the handle - a phrase etched into the wooden grip.  She took a deep breath and reached one hand toward the umbrella while squeezing the doorjamb with her other hand.

She pulled the umbrella toward her and read the carved letters:

A Heavenly Perspective.

Her heart skipped a beat as she loosened her grip on the doorjamb and grasped the turquoise umbrella.  She felt utterly weightless as she glided toward the street.  The falling rain cascaded around her, but she was protected under the canopy.  

She spotted several other colorful umbrellas hovering around nearby houses.  A yellow one drifted near the door of her neighbor.  Ella laughed at the look of surprise on the other young mother's face.  She waved as she ascended over the maple tree, soaring toward a patch of blue sky.


To moms who ache to fly away ... and who hunger for the encouraging reminder that mothering matters.

Linking up with The Red Dress Club.  This week's prompt:  500 words inspired by a photograph of a sea of umbrellas.


  1. Oh! That was lovely! How creative. Lately I have been literally aching for that light feeling. Thank you for a unexpectedly joyful read. :-)

    (Here from WOE.)

  2. wow, what a wonderful story! It's moving, and such strong imagery, I want to be the main character. Beautifully written!

  3. How wonderful! What a unique vision! A wistful, happy tale!

    In terms on concrit, I would take more confidence in your ability to show the reader your story.

    For example, your first sentence: "It was two o'clock in the afternoon and the fact that she was just now tackling the morning dishes gives you an idea of the day she'd had. "

    cut it back to:
    "It was two o'clock in the afternoon and she was just now tackling the morning dishes."

    Your reader absolutely understands what kind of day she had, without the author needing to point it out.

    Now, where is the umbrella to take me away?


  4. Perfect! I love the Heavenly Perspective. It's hard to maintain that when cleaning and changing diapers!

  5. Awesome. Love the magical way the umbrella's floated. (This also reminds I'll have to do dishes soon. They are never ending!)

  6. Oh, we could all use one of those moments some days, couldn't we? I think the choice of the eggs for the dishes was a good one; it was really visual, and everyone knows how tough it is to clean those after hours.

  7. I have to tell you, this was lovely...

    but I love this a lot, too.

    "To moms who ache to fly away."

    I looked at the calendar and planned a getaway with some girlfriends in October. It's been waaaaaay too long. Time for me to see a little patch of blue. My family will be fine. Thanks for the reminder. ;-)

  8. I would love to fly away too, even if for just a while. Well written.

  9. I'm glad she grabbed the handle. For a moment I was afraid she wouldn't. Nicely done!

    Stopped by from WOE

  10. I'm glad the umbrellas took you somewhere happy!


Thanks for visiting! Your comments are warm fuzzies! (And con-crit is always welcome, too.)