The Girl with No Umbrella

The first time I saw
The girl with no umbrella,
She was standing on the curb.
I didn't stop walking,
For I was in a hurry,
But I took notice
Of the smile on her face
And the droplets in her hair.

My grey umbrella kept my dry
—For in my city,
It always rained—
And every day I walked by
Under its shelter,
Surrounded by hundreds of others,
Who bustled on their way
In their own umbrella bubbles.

But the girl with no umbrella
Stood apart from the fray.
She had a face
—And it was smiling—
Smiling in the rain.
I wondered if she was crazy,
Standing uncovered,
Wet and cold and strange—
And that was when she noticed me
—Noticed me—
And waved.

I didn't look back,
Nor smile, nor wave,
For there was nothing to smile about
Out here in the miserable rain.
I simply kept on walking,
On the way to start my day,
In the shelter of my umbrella,
With the sound of water droplets
Pounding in my brain.

The next day,
She was there again.
Today she sat
On the edge of the sidewalk,
Grime smeared on her flowery dress,
Dipping her toes in the gutter streams.
I couldn't fathom
Why she was playing
In the filthy water
That ran beneath the curb
Day after day.

I tried to avoid her gaze
—It was as if she were looking for me,
Though I was just one
In hundreds that passed this way—
But my eyes found hers,
By some will of the universe,
And she smiled at me again.
The sight of her over there,
With no umbrella,
The rain running down her face in rivulets,
Stirred something unfamiliar within me,
And I laughed
—Laughed, and continued on my way.

Every day, as weeks went by,
I saw her standing there,
With rain twirling in her fingers
And glistening atop her hair.
She smiled and waved and laughed at me,
All to no avail.
I had a place to get to—
I could not be stopped,
For this sidewalk was just
A pathway.
My umbrella was my shield
In the unrelenting downpour.
I began to pity
The girl with no umbrella,
For she could not protect herself.

One day when I passed her by,
I noticed with some shock—
The girl was dancing
In the rain.
Her feet were bare, her dress was soaked,
And yet
She didn't seem to care.
She leapt and twirled and laughed and sang
As if life were perfect and happy.
I couldn't help it:
I stopped and stared.

The traffic flowed around me,
As if I didn't exist.
Those beside me didn't seem
To notice
The girl with no umbrella
And her strange happiness.
And as I watched her, she met my gaze.
Her smile increased in size.
She raised her hand,
Pointed at me,
And beckoned me to her side.

I picked my way through the crowd,
To join her at the edge.
I told myself I simply wanted
A closer look
At this crazy girl.
But when I reached her
And her blinding smile,
She reached out for my hand.
I frowned in confusion,
But then I realized:
She wanted me
To share my umbrella!

I smiled and nodded
And held out my umbrella
To shelter her from the rain
That had already soaked her through.
Her hand wrapped around mine,
And I praised myself for helping her
—When she did something
I never thought would happen.

She took my umbrella.

She gently pried it from my hands,
And held it to the side—
Then while I watched, my mouth agape,
She closed my umbrella
And set it on the ground.

The rain immediately found me,
A new victim for its play.
It beat upon my shoulders
And filled my eyes.
I shrieked at its attack.

The girl with no umbrella
And took my hands—
Hands that had been
Attempting to hold off the rain.
She smiled at me
Through a curtain of water
And I stopped resisting
As a new sensation took ahold
Of me.

The rain felt

The girl with no umbrella
Twirled me around,
And I knew there was no going back.
I laughed with her
And splashed in the puddles
On the ground,
The rain creating
A beautiful rhythm
For our dance.

I had to go.
I knew it all too well.
I bid the girl with no umbrella goodbye,
And went back to the road.
Only when I was a long way gone,
I realized with a jolt—
I'd left my umbrella behind
And walked along
With the rain falling on my head
And a smile resting on my face.

I decided I didn't need it.

It never did stop raining.
The weather never changed.
Yet something inside me
Was different—
Left behind
By the girl with no umbrella,
Who smiled in the rain.