Monday, October 8, 2012

October Air

The air is cold now.
It must be fifty degrees, but it feels like it’s thirty after the long hot summer we had.  Now the only sweat I feel is the tiny strip of skin pressed against my knitted hat, where my hair is all smashed beneath it.  The trees are all empty, with all the leaves fallen and raked up, bagged and sitting on the side of the dingy concrete roads with the trash.
The trees, standing against the yellow and blue sky, are what stick out in my mind the best. They look so tragic, like they didn’t ask for the winter to come but it did, just like it always did, and it took away all of the leaves without reason, without purpose.  And yet, the trees didn’t seem sad about it; and that is the most tragic thing of all. There isn’t anything sad about it, to the trees.  They haven’t even realized that their majesty is gone, probably, sitting by the side of the road to be carted off to the dump and burned away.
They don’t care. That’s what’s tragic about them.
Your screen door slams behind you and your feet tromp twice before you sit on the cold pavement steps beside me.  I’m still looking at those awfully depressing trees, but you immediately pipe up and say hi, ask me what was up.  I wish you could be quiet. Not because I don’t want to hear you, but just because it’s nice, every once in a while, just to look at the trees and be a little melancholy.
I try to get you to feel the October inside of you.  “The trees,” I mumble, keeping my eyes fixed on them.  “It’s fall.”
You laugh, and it sounds too fast, too nervous, like you don’t want there to be silence. “Yeah, it is,” you say.
“But look at them,” I say quietly, not wanting to disturb the feeling of autumn inside of my chest.
You do, and the rustling scrape of a few neglected leaves across the pavement is the only sound. 
“Look at them. I have them inside of me,” I try to explain.  “Inside of my head.”
You give me a weird look, and I think about backtracking.  But I’ve already said it, it’s already out there.  I admitted that I have fall inside me.  I feel the season inside of my head, in my lungs, in my rib cage where my heart should be.
“You have dead trees. In your head,” you state, still looking at me with one eyebrow raised.
I just shake my head. “No,” I give up. “That’s not what I meant.”
The sun is setting now, so the air is just going to get chillier for every second we sit here.  You stand, and so do I.  “Where do you want to go?” you ask.
“Let’s go to the hay maze,” I say, still conscious of the trees out of the corner of my eye and the rich feeling in my chest.
We trek down the road to McAllistar’s Apple Orchard, the wind swishing past our faces and forcing our hands deep into our pockets.  When we get there, Mr. McAllistar is locking the door to the admission shack, about to leave for the evening.  We can see his son framed by yellow light inside the orchard store playing checkers against himself.  Mr. McAllistar says we can walk the maze for free today. It’s probably because my mother baked his son cupcakes on his birthday right after Mrs. McAllistar died. His son is kind of simple, and he thought the cupcakes were from the angels, sent from his mother in heaven. They were good cupcakes. Mr. McAllistar thinks I don’t remember it because it was so long ago, but I do.
Once we’re inside of the hay maze the wind isn’t as biting and you take off your earmuffs.  The sun is going down faster now and I can tell it’s going to be dark soon. We’ve both forgotten flashlights, but that’s all right. We don’t talk about it.
All the crickets of the summer are gone so we crunch along and swing our hands in silence.
The allspice and dead leaf emotion is so thick in my blood. The maze isn’t too hard to work out; Mrs. McAllistar was the one who came up with the designs for them, and Mr. McAllistar just put them up, but since she’s been gone he’s just reused the old ones over a few times.  We first walked this one in third grade, and then again in ninth, so we both know the way. 
When we get near the end of the maze, we check to make sure the sweep of the McAllistar truck’s headlights are gone and climb up to sit on some of the higher haybales.  The wind is really blowing now, and the sky is prickled with early stars. Our thighs are brushing so we both keep warm.
And this time, you don’t say anything. You’re all right with the quiet cold, just me and you sitting here side by side like nothing will ever change.  I know it will, one day and eventually, but for now, this is right.  This is what fall is supposed to be like.  This is forever.


  1. Reading this is like drinking music. So good!

  2. That is about the highest praise I can imagine. Thank you so much <3 Your comment is such an encouragement too because I haven't written in so long that I felt kind of odd about it. I like it but I wasn't sure.
    Oh my goodness, you actually made me tear up. Thank you darling :]

  3. Goodness. It's hard to up that comment. But all I can really say is I get it. Fall's always brought on this intense feeling of gorgeous melancholy. I doubt if I'd ever be able to describe it in the crisp, well, fallish way you did. So, I'm quite glad you wrote this.

  4. Ahaha, no need to up anyone!! I'm just pleased y'all are commenting c:
    I'm quite flattered by all this praise. :3 I'm so so so so so so glad you enjoyed it. And I'm glad it makes sense, haha :]

  5. This is very good. I absolutely love the feeling of the Fall season. The moment I love is right before a tree's leaves turn brown and fall off, and you catch that beautiful hue in the leaves. And after that, sometimes it's just so nice to sit back and watch the leaves fall away. Not to get too philosophical in a comment, but I like to pretend that each leaf is like a child running off on its own little adventure, on its first time away from the life they've always known. Weird, I know.