The Umbrellas of Phuket
She dreamt of the candy-colored umbrellas again when the first monsoon rains began to fall.
There were hundreds of them, hanging by invisible wires somewhere high above her head as she stood in the city center of Ratchaburi, and she’d reach upwards towards them, fingertips wiggling in midair as the waters rose in the Floating Market.
She never felt scared in the dream.
She was always so very calm, and the water so peaceful and blue, even as it rose around her ankles.
“What does it mean?” she would ask her mother when she called home in-between shifts at the hospital, city lights blinking outside of the Bangkok apartment where she resided. “Is it something bad?”
“You’re not scared, so it’s not bad,” her mother would reply. “Maybe Buddha is trying to tell you something.”
She scoffed over the cell, but she believed her mother.
She would wonder about the dream, and it continued for seven nights.
On the eighth night, she dreamt it again.
The blue and orange and yellow umbrellas danced above her head, and she grit her teeth, not frightened, but determined – she would reach that umbrella overhead!
And then, it was like she was floating in midair. She laughed, in disbelief as she finally grasped the handle of the umbrella that had taunted her for so long, the beautiful deep blue above her head. She awoke, still smiling and laughing. Her mood was buoyant as she went to work that day.
When the man she loved finally came to visit, he took her to the Floating Market. She was a little wary, remembering the dream, and ever aware of the water level as their boat floated through the market.
They made simple conversation.
“It’s the art festival,” she told him, eating her coconut ice and giving him the spoon. He ate such a large bite she regretted not getting her own.
“It’s beautiful,” he said.
He seemed so nervous. She twitched anxiously in her seat. Why was he acting so strangely?
They rounded a corner, and her mouth fell open in shock.
There, directly across, was a statue of a man with a blue umbrella; just another display of the art festival.
“Look!” she said, turning around to tell him about the strange coincidence-
–and it started to rain.
They hurriedly paddled back to the slatted wood docks, laughing. She was already wet, but he drew her close and sheltered her with his tall frame.
“I’ll be your umbrella,” he told her.
When she pulled back to tease him, he pulled out the ring.
This particular story is dedicated to Yada and Andy. Congrats on your engagement! I wish I could be in Thailand for the wedding!
For the rest of you, this was in answer to this week’s prompt by Red Writing Hood on WriteonEdge. I had a delightfully generous 500 words, and I took advantage of the opportunity to write a little love story/fairytale. It’s fiction, although the characters were totally based on my awesome cousin and his beautiful new fiancée.
Here’s the original prompt: