A Short Story: Autumn Leaves

I decided to dig through the trunk and update a short story I wrote a few years ago.  The fall weather had and has turned me melancholy once again.......I haven't written anything in a long time, it's comforting to go back to something I enjoyed.

                                               Autumn Leaves
 The weeks were passing quickly, making it difficult to shake the grogginess that had set over her.
He was a dear, we had helped each other through some of the worst of times and had some of the best of times, and it was hard to believe he was gone.    I sat back in my rocking chair thinking of the different places we had visited and the happiness we had shared.  Maybe you thought we were lovers, we weren't, just friends. We both agreed that was how we wanted it, just friends. Lovers tend to get stuck in details; friends make fun of the details, at least we did anyway.  Like the time we kissed, just to find out if what we were agreeing to was so, and in the enthusiasm of finding out we almost knocked our teeth out, boy did that ever hurt. If we had been much more serious about that kiss it could've been devastating. I went over that moment in my mind as if it were as monumental as the Great War. That’s an exaggeration of course, but my heart aches with sadness for my dear friend, my non-lover of loving moments.

As I stood, the blanket had slipped to the floor; I walked to the window shading my eyes from a random ray of sun. Looking out onto the back lawn, the colorful leaves were everywhere; there was a time we had loved to sit  out there and read, it was this kind of weather that drew us there.  We’d read not the classics, but from biographies. We'd choose any actor; I picked Rosalind Russell, we marveled at old Hollywood, the last time...the last time. We would read for a while, as the other gazed up at the clouds contemplating each word.  And then afterwards a walk  picking up different colors of leaves while we invented stories, it was plainly silly but we were friends and we were allowed that.

Someone was moving into the ole'  house next door, it had stood vacant for some time. It was a beautiful old Victorian house, like most lining the street.   It had a wrap around porch, gingerbread trim, many rooms to play hide 'n seek in and enough windows to line the pockets of an able bodied window washer. It was a slow process, but something to do,  watching someone else work, someone else with the energy to do more than sit and brood.

She stood there with her head on her arm lining the frame of the window, Belle; her housekeeper came in at that moment. Here's your tea, I'll set it over here. Can I get you anything else?
Oh no, thank you, Belle; I've been thinking you can go home early today. I'll be fine.
Are you sure?
Yes quite, there’s no point really, go enjoy the weather. 
I have dinner prepared; she smiled at the thought of  a walk in the  brisk October air.   I'll set it on the counter with the instructions and then lock up.
Thank you Belle, I do appreciate it.
She turned from the window and walked over to the bookshelf staring through the glass,  “A Streetcar Named Desire”, an “Encyclopedia of Opera”, and “The King”, referring to Clark Gable not Elvis. Mm, nothing looked enticing, not today, besides she had read most of them before. Probably time to make a trip to the ‘The Book Shop’.

Curiosity was twisting her arm, she still didn't feel like doing anything but the fall weather and new neighbors were nagging at her to go outside. She slurped, yes slurped the last of her tea, dropped the blanket on the chair and ran upstairs to change into something warmer. On her way down, pulling and rearranging the sleeves on her sweater  she remembered Belle had baked a cake yesterday. She hadn't even touched it.  She went into the kitchen to retrieve it from the cake tin making sure it was still whole and it was. She pulled another tin out, this one was her favorite, she placed it inside, latched it and made her way out the back door stopping to inhale that indescribably delicious smell, fall was definitely here and her friend was gone, but she had endless memories tucked away. Life goes on, she knew there were new friends waiting next door, there had to be, and new memories to make, as she clomped down the steps and crunched through the leaves.
By Barbara Lambert orig. 8/9/09 updated 9/28/12

1 comment:

  1. You wrote that? Its wonderful Barb. Made me a bit teary eyed too, I have to say.

    Ali x


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