Tessie - The Storyteller “Where is my good umbrella?” Our mother‘s voice broke like a seething goblin as she came rushing into the kitchen, her maroon dress suit soaked with rain. At the breakfast table, I mutely played with a piece of cold toast. I knew where the umbrella had been, but I didn’t want to reveal where it had gone. “I don’t know, Mummy. I don’t know, Mummy,” Arnold said, nodding his head instinctively. Mother convulsed in a shiver that resembled a mangy wolf, but her clothing wouldn’t release the droplets. “Boys, it was beside the front door yesterday,” she said bitterly. “What has become of it?” I looked to Arnold for guidance. He was two years old, not much younger than me, and even with a few encyclopedias acting as cushions, he still had difficulty reaching the toast. What little hair he had on his head was slicked into a smart, blonde crown, and all of him was dressed in white. He gave me a worried eye and, looking back to Mother, suddenly fell silent too. We both knew the umbrella had been high in the cherry tree, which stood in the back lot of the house. Arnold had convinced me the afternoon before that it was a good idea to bring it up there. It had been raining only slightly, and we wanted to stay among the blossomed branches uninterrupted to count the fine, spring clouds. Mother with her dark, wind-swept hair dripping rainwater stared at me skeptically. “Where is my umbrella, Vincent?” Her arms touched her hips as she sneered, “You must know.” Behind her livid expression, I saw a faint but desperate plea. Thunder echoed lightly from the kitchen window. I didn’t know when the downpour would stop to be honest. I tried to answer, but quavered, “Please, Mummy, I don’t know where it went.” We had been left it in the cleft of the treetop, nestled safe in soft, cherry blossoms, but before I could hurry back to retrieve it, a stormy gust of wind had surged the tree and carried mother’s black umbrella far away. After a momentous pause, she drew closer to the table with outstretched fist, poised to box my ear. “Father took it! Father took it!” Arnold shrieked. “What?” said mother, stalling her palm. “Father took it.” Arnold repeated excitedly in his usual, scratchy monotone. “Took it to work, he did.” He was hopping in the chair uncontrollably, his hair standing on end. Mother turned her raw, imposing face on me. “Is this true, Vincent?” I nodded limply. She turned away with a low snarl and headed into the front hall, complaining fitfully about the rain. Once the front door had closed behind her heels, I breathed a nervous laugh and smiled gratefully at Arnold. He squeaked with giggles and nodded, while lifting his crest with delight. He could tell any story. He loved to tell stories. For sure, he was my pet Cockatoo.