“Watercolor Umbrellas” by Carrie Barrett

I was with my best friend, who had flown in from Alabama after the death of her mother.  For months, Ms. Susan fought a cancer that ate her alive without killing her. We watched that lovely woman shrivel day-by-day, and suffer in awful, devastating ways that no child should ever have to witness. While walking the shops in Pike’s Place Market we lost ourselves among the people and were able to forget the grief and sadness, finding peace in the crowd for a few hours.  There, I came across a print that has embedded itself into my unconsciousness. When I see bright colors, I think of that print. If I feel a cold breeze, I think of that print. As I feel cold rain on my face and hair, I think of that print.


Bright, dripping colors grab my attention. Dampness permeates my thin blouse in the summer heat and I shiver with a chill. I reach up to pull more closely around me the jacket I’m not wearing out of confusion. Mesmerized, I stare at this print:

Watercolor Umbrellas

I can feel the salty breeze coming off the water, blowing the cold rain across my pink cheeks like happy tears. The smell of fresh seafood mixes with the abundance of fresh flowers waiting to be chosen.  hey call to me. Vendors hawking their fruits and vegetables shuffle between the umbrellas, pushing and pulling their carts, bumping over the uneven cobblestones. Cars weave patiently between crowds bringing more umbrellas to be added to my view.

The adventures for the day are just past these umbrellas, but I don’t want to rush. People walking by are hurrying somewhere, but I am right where I want to be. I am a single point of focused ecstasy, surrounded by perfectly organized chaos, waiting for my adventure to begin. I need to savor this moment, to feel this moment. 

The Starbucks at my back promises relief from the weather and bustle. The aroma of freshly ground beans tickles my throat. I desperately crave the warm of the liquid, but the anticipation is better than the actual drink, so I wait, teasingly.  

I think about my route, the salmon piroshky and pork hash dumplings will be worth the exposure to the weather. Every drip will heighten the feelings of belonging. I will take my treats underground, where I will peruse the trinket shops. Treasures from times and people past are gathered under the streets of Pike’s Market, and again, the anticipation washes over me. My plan to settle on the steps with my coffee, people watch, and write completes my ideal afternoon.


I will get there quickly enough, but not yet.  I want to be right here for a moment more, quietly appreciating the possibilities of the what-if with my friend.  An umbrella in the crowd of a watercolor print, that hangs in a shop in the market.

Carrie Barrett’s affinity for the dark and dramatic has her coming out of the literary gate swinging for the fences. Currently a student at Pierce College, she masterfully juggles student life with her family of eight and her career in the water biz. Now residing in the Pacific Northwest, you can often find Carrie, creamer flavored coffee in hand, curled up writing in her dingy notebook or listening to true crime podcasts. A proud Army Brat, her love of travel and life experiences gives her work diversity and authenticity.