Farewell, my porcupine
Slick and dripping on the mat
Its broken spindles stick out sorely
But speaks of days spent happily
Shading, protecting, defending
Any who’ve held it
Friends and lovers who’ve shared it
The day it met it’s timely fate
Is a day that will never fade
For acts of kindnesses are always
If not repaid.
They shared a lift down from their offices on the 28th floor.
Both tired and weary from the mental labours of the day. And shared the small talk of people who knew each other well, but not intimately.
“Any plans for CNY…Is your dear coming home with you?”
Just as the doors of the elevator opened on the mezzanine, the humidity and the scent in the air told her it was raining even before she stepped out.
They stood for a moment, side by side, looking at the torrent of rain falling from the leaden sky outside.
“I’m going to be so late to pick her up for her class!” he said, dismayed.
“Will have to dash through it…” But, he hesitated.
She took her compact, foldable sky blue umbrella from her bag. She looked at it. And then, she handed it to him.
“Here, use it. I’ll wait for you here. To pass it back to me, after you get to your car.”
He looked at her, surprised. “You sure?”
She just smiled which meant, yes, just hurry because I need to pick something up on my way home.
He gratefully took it and opened it.
The umbrella looked so silly and small on him, a stark contrast to his tall and well-built physique that she just couldn’t help a secret grin.
She watched as he dashed out into the rain.
He paused for just a second and turned back. The look in his eyes was unreadable. Surprised? Gratefulness? Wistfulness?
She waited for five minutes which became 10 and then 15.
And she began to wonder if he had forgotten her, or simply didn’t care.
She prepared to make a dash for it through the rain that was now lessening to a heavy drizzle.
And then she saw someone waving to her in the driveway, in a brand new car.
She went out and he rolled his window down. “Nice car!”
“Come on, hop in, I’ll drive you to your car,” he offered kindly.
She could smell the intoxicating scent of new car and leather seats through the open window.
In another time, another place, she would have gladly accepted. God knows, how she had hoped he would offer.
But now she said, “It’s alright, I’ll brave it. My car isn’t on your way home.”
He looked surprised and then confused and then silently handed her her blue brollie back.
She watched as he drove off. She opened her umbrella. Three of it’s metal spindles were sticking out at wild angles.
OK my little porcupine, I’ll be the last you shade.