spectral

United States

黃愛莉
| she/her | chinese american |
on dreams & reality, death & life, memory & magic. and most importantly, home depot tools.

Message to Readers

aaaaayy a nice number
also i gotta say the dark mode version of this is WILD

umbrella girl (second draft)

September 3, 2020

FREE WRITING

16
that evening we were standing at an abandoned
gas station, the sky had flicked blush at the horizon, painting it
dusty rose, with highlighted salmon clouds. while you stood taking
photographs for your instagram aesthetics, i suppose
that is when i first saw the umbrella girl.

weirdly enough, her hat was blood red, almost
obnoxiously so. her umbrella, boots and raincoat were a matching
pair, glossy and black, like her devious eyes.
it wasn't raining, nor hot, so i had always wonder about
the purpose of her signature prop. she stood there, her hands posed perfectly
around its handle, umbrella placed tastefully over her shoulder.
head tilted just so- poised, a doll- those flashing eyes and half
smile, like you were the only one in on an inside joke.

the setting sun left blush crumbling to the clear skin
of navy and starlight, hiding behind powerlines and
buildings in the distance. you snapped more pictures, while
the umbrella girl just stood there, watching; watching
like always.

when you had finished, you pocketed your phone, and
smiled at me, climbing into the drivers seat. i followed
in shotgun, but i never took my eyes off her, even
when all she became was a black speck. i don't think she ever
moved that evening, except after we left, her smile spread perhaps
centimeter. like she knew something i did not.
i don't think you ever saw her, or at least acknowledged her. but somehow, your
lifeline irreversibly intertwined with hers. 
i saw her thrice more.

i. when we opened our admission letters together, 
that afternoon on a weekend, in the park across from campus. she 
leaned against the tree still with the
umbrella (it was a clear day), and watched with her cursed knowing smile,
she watched while we cheered, sun filtering through the trees and onto our
oblivious (so oblivious) laughter and light eyes, a cool wind blowing, while her
eyes flicked to the blood red seal of the letter, the same shade as her rippling fedora.

ii. the afternoon of graduation,
i waited at the restaurant on the street corner-
it was a terrible restaurant, the service average and the food
gross. i stared out the window and saw your faded yellow car, saw another
run the red light, saw it slam into you,
she was there as the paramedics loaded you in,
as i cried for you to be alright, her smile was still
ever so prim (after that, i hated her smile) and umbrella ever so 
flawless as she watched in the
background, eyes timeless, like i was beginning to think she was.
it rained that day.

iii. at your funeral,
her ebony rain attire matched our mourning clothes, as i
went up to honor your memory, i glanced at her,
the umbrella girl, as she stood in the corner. she
tilted her head, and her half smile grew into a real
smile. she bowed her head curtly towards you, paying
her respects, closed her umbrella, and skipped briskly
towards the exit, a her red hat opposing a sea of black.
i never saw her again.

now when i drive up to admire salmon dusks i do think of you,
but inevitably her. she, the umbrella girl, who left far too
many questions in the wake of those black rainboots and that haunting
smile. as the sky molts its shades of cherry and rose i will always
ask the starlight things
i suppose i'll never know.
writers block is ew so i decided to edit up some previous prose.

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3 Comments
  • Coeur

    This is beautiful, and such an interesting idea. I agree with ek503, that line is amazing.


    11 months ago
  • ek503

    wow this is gorgeous. i remember reading the first draft and loving it so much.
    "as the sky molts its shades of cherry and rose i will always / ask the starlight things / i suppose i'll never know." ahh that addition!


    about 1 year ago
  • almost flora kane

    holy crap, wow. that about sums it up.


    about 1 year ago