"It was a rainy day in Vancouver" may not be an expected start to most crime dramas, but it would be a critical factor to the one I witnessed.
It was a rainy day in Vancouver. It was not unlike any other winter day before it as I sat on the Canada Line train connecting between Downtown Vancouver and Richmond, BC. My train of thought while on the Canada Line generally consists of few different topics. It usually starts on my amazement on how Translink could underestimate the ridership so much which resulted in some random strangers rubbing up against me due to overcrowding or other unknown reasons. I tend to move to the thought of glorious sleep at some point on my train ride. All aspects of sleep tend to be pleasing to me. It could be the thought of a warm bed or the pleasure of sleeping in late. Next thing you know, my eyelids get kind of heavy and I start to nod my head. My initial head nod is not unlike the head nod that one would use to acknowledge an acquaintance walking past you in a hallway. It's gentle and dignified with a small dip of the chin. As my mind grows cloudy and inch towards a narcoleptic wonderland, my head nod gets ever so violent. It is not unlike a headbanger at a Led Zeppelin concert supercharged on Redbulls. None of those things happened on this specific train ride because I was captivated by an umbrella.
The umbrella had a bright red handle that can't be missed. The curved, glossy ruby handle is leaned up against the dreary, off-white train wall. The colours were in such contrast, the handle almost appeared playful and full of energy. There was no one in the immediate vicinity of the umbrella. Someone had tragically left it behind on the train. I was pitying the person who had to trudge through the sticky rain to get home without his/her umbrella. The thought was fleeting as I started to imagine what a picture of this umbrella would look like.
I was visualizing an empty train with this solitary yet vibrant red umbrella. A scene of rows of vacant seats with the playful yet lonesome umbrella left behind. I could almost imagine the feeling of emptiness when I saw the picture in my head, yet the colour of the umbrella was anything but empty. As I looked forward to the terminus station where people would leave the train and perhaps grant me a quick moment for a picture, a girl sat down next to the umbrella that I should refer to as "Ella".
The girl looked like she was in her early 20's, and she was travelling with another girl. They were both standing next to the train doors before the taller girl sat down next to the Ella. The shorter girl remained standing as they carried on a conversation in a foreign language. Lanky, who was sitting down, soon noticed Ella leaning against the wall. I could only assume that Ella's beauty also captured her attention. Lanky looked at the Ella and looked away before looking back at Ella once again. I could almost see the lightbulb light up next to her head as she turned to her friend to say something while pointing at Ella rudely. I may not understood their language, but I could see that Lanky was captivated by Ella and couldn't take her eyes of her. I could see Lanky's gerbil kick into high gear in her head as she was heading towards a life of a criminal mastermind.
Lanky reached over and swoop Ella off her single foot and started to examine her from top to bottom. By now, I was screaming inside and some low volume murmuring even escaped my mouth. I was in panic mode knowing that Ella could be kidnapped. Much to my surprise, after some careful examination, prodding and poking, Lanky put Ella back down. I could still see Lanky's imaginary gerbil, now wearing a balaclava and gloves, planning a heist of the hour on this train. Lanky started talking to her friend while gesturing to the umbrella a couple of times. Her friend shrugged her shoulder a few times. I would assumed the same conversation took place again as Lanky gestured towards Ella and Lanky's friend shrugged her shoulders repeatedly. To be fair, there was a chance that Lanky could be asking her friend what they should work on at the gym that night and her friend was clearly excited about doing some shoulder exercises. Who doesn't want gains on their traps right? Then again, I highly doubted that as I continue to see Lanky's gerbil in a full sprint.
The train was pulling into the terminus station and I noticed Lanky taking off her backpack and securing her other umbrella in an outside pocket. Check. Mate. She reached over and grabbed Ella with a level of conviction that I had not seen since Jean Chretien grabbed his favourite protestor's neck. My heart sank as my picture opportunity started to walk out of the train door with Lanky. I swore under my breath and existed the train as I took the picture below.
Interestingly enough, as Lanky walked on the platform towards the exit, I saw her gently and meticulously roll up the Ella's fabric and clipped her in so she was not flapping around all over the place. Lanky took such care, it was as if Ella had been by her side for years. I guess I didn't have any expectation of how someone may handle their loot, and I wasn't expecting this level of love for Ella. As quickly as she rolled the umbrella up, Lanky opened her up when she was greeted with rain outside of the station.
As we all entered the mall to avoid the rain, I saw Lanky roll up Ella with care for the last time as I made a turn towards my next destination. Lanky and Ella continued on with their journey down the hallway. I wished Ella good luck and a life of fulfilling service. I hope Lanky will retire from her life as an outlaw gang member.