Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2268884-The-Last-Umbrella
by brom21
Rated: E · Short Story · Emotional · #2268884
A professor sees the true thing that matters on all levels.
“The umbrella was invented by the Chinese over four-thousand years ago,” said Professor White, as he brought up a PowerPoint image of a woman in a tunic-like robe holding a circular paper umbrella with painted art on it. “It was first used to protect from the sun. Only in the 16th century was it made to protect from rain.”

“Class is out!” yelled out a blond-haired student as he rose from his seat.

“Remember class, our test on historical advancement is Friday,” White said as the rest of the class in the auditorium, shuffled of books and stacked papers.

A stout female student approached Professor White and smiled. “Professor, I was inspired by this topic for my poetry class. I use the umbrella as metaphor.”

“Really? How so?”

“An umbrella is like our protection from God and his angels,” said the student.

White was amazed at the young woman’s audacity with using religion as a focus in a secular institution. But he was impressed with himself a devout Christian. “I think that is a wonderful choice. I would love to read it.”

The student gave him a copy of her long poem to the professor. “Thanks professor. I hope you enjoy it.”

White nodded and the student left. He packed his satchel with his papers and files. His day was over, and he was looking forward to the prospect of becoming head of the history department. He was up against two other teachers.

White exited the room and went to his car. On his drive home, for some reason he thought the young student’s poem. It was appealing and quite clever in his opinion.

He arrived at his apartment and put his satchel on his coffee table, sat on his couch and picked up an edition of Discovery Magazine. He found himself distracted by the coming appointing of the head of the history department. He drifted of into a deep slumber and had a dream.

In front of him a man in an a suit with an umbrella as large hail fell from the sky. On his umbrella was written “money Another person this time a woman had an umbrella with pride Yet, another person had an umbrella with religion. Then there was a person with an umbrella with Jesus written on it. All, including the one with religion on it, were being pummeled by the harsh hail except for the last one.

Professor White awoke and was amazed. Without a doubt, he had a spiritual dream. And the meaning was clear to him; nothing but God’s Son could protect from the pains, onslaughts and lies of the world and ultimately bring fulfillment. “Hmm…he,” said pulling at his chin. Certainly, something in the student’s poem had been selected to bring about the dream.

The digital clock on his nightstand next to his couch read six pm. He rose and said a short prayer, before going for his evening walk. On his way out the door, he saw a person drive down his block in a convertible Corvette as the driver smiled with the wind whipping through his hair. The sight made White sigh with sadness at the man’s obvious indulgence in wealth which was what the very first umbrella read.

Then he noticed one of the professor’s who taught at his university. Crossing the street who waved to White. The man waved to him. “Professor White! Hello!”

When the other professor reached white, he extended his hand to shake.

“Hello, Professor Gram.”

“Good evening to you as well. I am doing my daily walk. What brings you outside today?”

Professor Gram smiled. “I had to park on the other side of the street because the parking lot in front of the bookstore is full. I am headed there now.”

“Looking for anything specific?” asked White.

“Something, intellectually stimulating. Anything that caters to my intelligence like you as well,” the man said with a prideful grin.

A red flag went up in white’s head. pride. It was the second umbrella in his dream. Suddenly, he wondered why this strange experience was occurring. Was God trying to show him something? Was there a sin in his life or someone else’s life he was to confront? Yet he did not feel compelled to bring up such a thing to his colleague.

“Would you join me for a cup of coffee in the bookstore café?” asked Gram.

“Thanks, but I have student’s papers to look over.”

Gram shrugged. “Ok then. I will see you tomorrow, professor,” he said as he walked into the bookstore.

After a little more walking, White made his way back to his apartment. When he stepped in, he sat at desk and pulled out papers and began looking over them. He came across the poem of the female student’s poem and read it. It touched White profoundly. In an ingeniously, provoking and artful way, she had composed a very spiritual poem. It mimicked his dream and his strange encounters that correlated with his day.

After grading papers, he decided to read the newspaper before bed. It was an article of a philanthropist who claimed to be a Christian. After this man was interviewed, he was asked by the interviewer of the man’s motives, he said it was to ensure his way to heaven.

White knew it was the next umbrella that said religion. “What a shame.” He yawned and stretched then went to sleep.

Seven-o’clock am came and White got dressed for his day at the university. When he finally made it to the class auditorium, the class were all seated. He went to his desk and sat. And there in the front row was the young student who wrote the poem, reading her Bible. Then the image of the last umbrella came to his mind that read Jesus.

It was the only one that deflected the hail in White’s dream. He went to the young lady’s desk and smiled. “You have no idea how your poem touched me.’

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