Umbrellas and Rain

It rained yesterday.

Teeny tiny drops of rain that turned into some steady streaks for a couple of hours and then ended, not even enough to let the dust and sand settle. The smell of the dust was in the air later when I walked out, along with tiny pools and streams of rain water that had yet to dissipate into the ground.

When I was growing up in Nouadhibou, rain was a big deal, mainly because it occurred so rarely. Although, to be fair, we did have some heavy rain a few times during the 14 years, which had flooded our backyard, our school, and our town overall, unequipped for such large and sudden amount of water. So when it did rain, school was out of question, and my sister and I hurried outside in our garden to play with the unsteady drops of rain, and most importantly to give a little taste to our rainbow-colored umbrellas of what they were actually made for.

I don’t know why my parents bought us those big colorful umbrellas during our first and last visit to Korea. We may have insisted, but that had rarely been an effective strategy for our parents after all. Maybe they thought it would be funny to see us twirl around under the rare rain. Maybe they felt a little sorry for us for not experiencing the full extent of seasons. Whatever the reason may have been, we loved those umbrellas. Sure, looking back, they must have looked god-awful. But back then, they were so big, so colorful, and so special. They even had little tags where you could write down your school and your name, and we did, although we knew they would never leave our front door.

Alas, unsurprisingly, our umbrellas never came to quite fulfill their purpose in life. But they died serving us well for other purposes, sacrificing themselves for our tent-building endeavors alongside their faithful companions, chairs and blankets.

I now hate rain, obviously – you have much more meaningless concerns once you grow up, such as having your shoes, socks and clothes all wet, not bumping into other people’s wet umbrellas and raincoats, and avoiding puddles of water. But once every now and then, especially as I was sitting in my room, watching the feeble rain hit the sand and listening to the constant and regular sound of water landing on can roofs, I remember the two little girls laughing and dancing around barefoot with their umbrellas, to whom staying dry was the least of their concerns.

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