He gave me his umbrella, the night that we met. He said I couldn’t be wandering around Dublin without one, and if I had his I would have to see him again. So I carried it with me each day and each day I saw him and each day I left, again, with his umbrella. On my very last day in Dublin, we had plans to meet in the afternoon, but we weren’t exactly sure when. He had things that needed to be done, and I didn’t want to presume on his time; he’d given me so much already, and I thought it would be closer to evening before I heard from him. So I set out, umbrella in hand, for one last time to say goodbye to the streets and the pubs and the river.
The wind was high, sending me stumbling and tumbling, hair in my face and as I came to a corner on Merrion St., next to a bright yellow door red ribboned and wreathed for the holidays, one great gust almost tore the umbrella from my hands. It flipped inside out and ripped the fabric from the frame, and except for a mad dash half-way into the street I almost lost it entirely. My heart tore along with it; clutching the ruined umbrella, I realized with an ache out of nowhere that I wasn’t going to see him that day.
A message, when I got back to the hotel; he’d already been, and waited, but when he couldn’t find me and couldn’t reach me, he’d gone and it was too late to come back. I put my heart away in a suitcase and started packing the rest of my things so I wouldn’t cry. Wandering restless ’round the room, picking things up and putting them down, jamming clothes and books and jars of honey and a bottle of whiskey all haphazard and without care into my overstuffed luggage.
Looking at the bits and pieces scattered here and there, the things I brought with me and the treasures accumulated on my visit, I realized I’d left my necklace behind, the necklace I’d been wearing the entire trip, with its heart shaped key, when I left his home that morning. I still have the tattered remains of his umbrella. And he has my key.
The night that we met, he put his hand on my knee and he told the poor hapless lad eating his dinner at the table next to us that I was already taken. I looked up at him, his strong face, brilliant grin and serious eyes, and I realized that it was really kind of true, even though it didn’t make any sense at all.
And then I went home with his umbrella.