“Umbrella! Umbrellaaaaaah! (Sniff, sniff.) Umbrella?” I cried and whimpered into the air like a wounded animal. I was walking from the Mills and Fairchild courtyard to the MUB. My feet dragged my heavy, slumped, forlorn body across the cracked pavement as I approached Quad Way. Holding my hands up to my face to catch my tears of sadness, I stepped from the sidewalk onto the road. At one point, a university shuttle driven by a mustached man who slammed down furiously on the breaks almost ended my misery. Being run over by a UNH shuttle would most certainly answer my questions as to how I would pay off my student loans, but it wouldn’t tell me where my dear friend Umbrella had gone.
It has been four days since my innocent little friend has been home. The last time I saw his gentle wired frame, black polyester rind and pearly crooked smile was at the end of my ballet performance. Since then, I have lost all hope in life. We have been the best of friends since the beginning of college and have done everything together, going out on dates, to dancing at frat parties or just sitting together at the dining hall sharing each other’s silent company. He needs me and I need him. We have been inseparable since we first met back at freshman orientation.
After I had climbed up the concrete steps to the MUB, I turned back towards Fairchild and the Mills, clenched my fists tight and swung them behind my body as I faced the sky and let out one last scream with epic undertone: “Umbrella!” A big mob of people shuffling in unison past the bus stop halted in their tracks. They stared at me. I stared at them.
“Hey, you people. Have you seen my umbrella?” I asked with sternness as I pointed to them. Each person in the mob looked around puzzled, then they waved at me.
“What is this madness?” I thought to myself. I used my inner ninja and did a spinning side flip over the handrail landing in crouching tiger pose. I slowly raised my head up staring at the group, with an angry face.
“I am The Man. Where is my umbrella?” I asked with epic undertone.
They began clapping. “No. No. Umbrella!” I shouted. “Do you know where he is?”
“Umbrella?” a faint voice from the mob asked with a mumble.
“Yes! Umbrella, What information do you know?” I replied inquisitively. The group again looked at each other in absolute confusion.
Scanning the mob for my little Umbrella’s precious face, I noted I could not see a sign of his precious being. I turned away from the mob and began to walk.
“Wait!” a voice muffled from the group. I turned with passion.
A separate faceless voice from the mob chimed in and asked. “Are you our tour guide?”
“No, as I said before, I am The Man.”
“Ohhhh,” they all said while nodding.
A little head from the back of the group popped up and said, “We are looking for a man.”
“What do you want with me?” I asked patting my chest.
An older bald man, short in stature and accompanied by a younger person, parted from the mob of people.
“We come here to UNH to seek a man to show us the way around this school,” the old man said, while he extended his flattened hand that faced palms up toward me in a wafting motion.
“I seek my umbrella,” I replied.
“We will help you find your umbrella, but you must show us the way,” he said with calmness and ease as he fiddled with a beaded bracelet in his resting hand.
“I agree to this deal you propose, and as for what I seek, maybe you would understand, maybe you would not, but I seek a little rain shield with a crooked white smile and cruel sense of humor. He stands no taller than your knee cap, he is skittish, so he might run if you see him, and most importantly his name is Umbrella,” I said.
The old man agreed, we shook hands and then began our journey. Our first stop was Congreve. “Umbrella! Umbrella! Where are you, Umbrella?” We shouted and asked in unison marching towards the dorm.
“Send your mob to search the cars and I will tell you about Congreve.”
The Wise Man did as I commanded and so I began to tell him about Congreve, reading the description from the website off my phone.
“Living in Congreve will put you in the center of the UNH campus. This dorm is only steps away from recreation facilities. As a resident you will enjoy the diverse population, kitchen facilities, the awesome lounges, and hanging with friends. With its ‘heart of the campus’ location and diversity of majors, Congreve is a lively and inviting place to live,” I recited.
The mob cheered!
“Have your mob search for Umbrella by talking to those college kids sunbathing on T-Hall Lawn and I will tell you about the library!”
“Mob, Let’s move!” the old wise man commanded.
The mob, like seagulls at a beach, swarmed the unsuspecting students. No sign of Umbrella.
“Dang!” I thought to myself.
“Mob listen up! The Ezekiel W. Dimond Library is the main library at this campus and houses collections supporting the humanities, social sciences, business, health sciences, human services, education and earth sciences. A cool fact about the Dimond Library is that it is also home to the federal and state depository publication collections, multimedia, Natural Sciences Resource Center, Special Collections, University Archives and the University Museum,” I said all in one breath, once again reading off my phone.
The mob was going crazy clapping and jumping around with excitement.
“Old wise man, tell your mob to follow me to HoCo,” I demanded.
The mob and I entered the lobby.
“Wiseman! Tell your mob to open up all these lock boxes! My dear friend Umbrella could be suffocating in there!” I pleaded.
In unison, the mob pulled out crowbars and hammers and pried the boxes open one by one. Sadly, Umbrella was not trapped in there.
“Thank you wise man, this is as far as I can take you, I will tell you and your mob one more piece of knowledge.”
“What is it? The wise man asked looking at me with awe, his eyes filling up with water.
Looking down at my phone one last time, I recited: “The University of New Hampshire was founded in 1866 and our collegiate colors are blue and white. White represents the mountains in the north and the color blue represents the Atlantic Ocean. Fun fact, the university is one of the top three universities in the country for space plasma physics and has supplied instruments to 24 space missions. There are two university alumni that are in the ranks of NASA astronauts being Rick Linnehan and Lee Morin.”
The mob began stomping their feet and cheering my name “Man, Man, Man!” I bowed, shook the old wise man’s hand, then returned back to my sad, hopeless self. I scanned my finger and took a right towards the chicken nuggets.
Adjacent to the nuggets, Umbrella was sitting in one of those metal chairs by the window.
“Umbrella!” I shouted. Oatmeal fell out of his mouth, with a look of awe on his face.
“You better explain yourself! I haven’t slept in days because of worry! I thought you were dead.”
Umbrella laughed. “You realize dumb, dumb, I can’t actually die unless I catch on fire. After you stranded me at your performance, I went out for a walk alone, and realized I needed some space.”
“You’re right, Umbrella. I can’t help that I’m a weirdo. I’m sorry I’ve been so needy lately,” I said.
In response, Umbrella gave me a hug with his little arms and then we ate some pie.
Follow the Man and his Umbrella on Twitter @CYaarg