I couldn’t help but wonder: had she just bought it? She seemed unaccustomed to how to wield it, where to leave it — one of those extra-long black umbrellas with a crooked wooden handle, the sort that belong in brass umbrella stands. With all the rain we’ve been having, maybe she had enough of sodden hairdos and damp white blouses turning ever so translucent. Maybe her bumpershoot busted its spring one time too many. Maybe she enjoyed the way it doubled as a whimsical walking cane.
She could not decide whether or not it belonged on a coat hook, and it certainly wouldn’t fit under the table. Unwieldy, but aesthetically pleasing. One of the most elemental choices in life. Wound up hooked over the back of her chair, slightly swinging, pendulum-like as the waiters breezed by in their smart black slacks. Swinging, and I was half-hypnotized, tapping my fingers to the music and watching it, a third as tall as me, swinging.
Inevitable, when its swing swung too broad and found its hook sliding down off of the chair. As if in bullet time, i could almost hear the inaudible wood on wood scraping, scraping as it found its way slowly from the chair to the floor, now lying directly across the smart black waiters’ path.
Only five feet away, not so far; i could have easily leaned out of my chair to right it again. It wasn’t my place, though, to change how it had found its way to the floor, or what would happen next.
Everything is a domino, i thought, as the waiter tripped over the elegant black umbrella, then righting himself with a cross look on his face. He picked the fallen accessory up from the floor and offered it back to his apologetic patron, who was still slightly puzzled as to where to place her prized new accessory.