Lara threw her hands up in frustration as she reached yet another “Don’t Walk” signal. She shifted impatiently and looked at her watch. The light mist of rain turned into a solid drizzle as she pushed her already damp auburn hair behind her shoulder. She looked up at the dark clouds rapidly approaching, promising a heavier downpour. If she didn’t hurry, she would soon be drenched.
Kaley noticed that the stranger on the corner she was approaching was wearing business attire under her thin black pea coat…and was obviously under-prepared for this weather. She followed the girl’s worried glance at the sky and saw the same looming clouds. She stepped up next to her, pulled up the hood of her raincoat and said extended her arm towards the girl, “Do you want my umbrella?”
Lara looked at her incredulously, “Really?”
“Yes, really,” Kaley playfully insisted. “I have a hood on my coat. You look like you’re going someplace much more important than I am. Besides, this umbrella was actually given to me by a stranger one rainy morning, so it kind of feels appropriate.”
“Oh my God, thank you so much! I’m going to a job interview and I don’t think it would make a good impression if I showed up looking like I swam there.”
The girl’s British accent made it sound much more dramatic than it was and Kaley couldn’t help but laugh. The light changed and they started walking together. Kaley kept up with the girl’s nervous pace as they headed in the same direction.
“How will I get this back to you?”
“Don’t worry about it – pass it on to someone else. It can be like a Pay-It-Forward umbrella.”
Lara smiled. “I like that. But you have to let me thank you somehow.” She reached into her bag and pulled out a business card.
“I’m Lara. Text me and I’ll take you out to dinner to thank you. If I get the job, I’ll take you for a drink, too.”
Kaley took the card and gave the girl a coy smile. “I’ll hold you to that, Lara. I’m Kaley. Good luck with the interview.”
Lara thanked her and motioned that she had to turn. They said goodbye and parted ways. Kaley turned the business card over in her pocket and couldn’t help but smile to herself.
Kaley closed the door to her small studio apartment and tossed her bag unceremoniously onto a chair by the door. She emptied her coat pockets onto the table before taking it off and throwing it onto the back of the chair. She started to head to the couch when the business card on the table caught her eye. The corner of her mouth turned up at the memory of the morning’s chance encounter and she grabbed the card and her phone off the table. She plopped down on the couch and turned the card over in her hand. After punching in the numbers on the card, she typed out a text, “So, how’d the interview go? Were they impressed by your incredible weather preparedness?”
She hit send and got up to grab a beer from the fridge. She popped it open and was surprised to hear her phone go off behind her. She went back to the couch, sat down and picked up her phone again. “It went great, thanks to you! I owe you dinner. Tomorrow night?”
“Works for me.”
“7 o’clock at the corner of 4th and 6th?”
Kaley kicked her feet up on the couch and smiled at her phone.
“See you then.”