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Rated: 18+ · Fiction · Contest · #2272872
Contest - Prompt Autumn
Word Count: 1010
Prompt: Autumn

Autumn’s Love

I pulled back the heavy embroidered curtains on the front windows. The thick dark gray low hanging clouds still blanketed the sky. For the last three days, they stood as sentinels for my life. I could feel the frigid downpour of rain peppering the double-paned glass. The wind slammed each drop onto the smooth surface as if it was trying to break through reverberating the stark drumbeat of my heart.  I prayed to anyone who might be listening to keep the daily lightning-punctuated thunderstorms coming.

Glancing into the warm living room, I prayed harder deep in my spirit. When the storms abated, my true love would be leaving. My world would once again turn cold. There would be no more daily snuggling on the couch watching the fire flicker in the stone hearth. There would be no more warm lips caressing mine.

My mind ran at breakneck speed over the past few months. Days of warmth floated over our world. Gentle rain and a rainbow of sweet-smelling flowers held us in awe of nature. Our sunglasses shaded the brilliant light from the cloudless summer morning sky and golden sunsets. We spent hours reclined on garden chairs in the front yard, watching the children next door play in the small wading pool. We laughed at the antics of the young couple across the street playing badminton in their front yard. The ice cream truck played bells announcing icy comfort to one and all. We sat on the back porch while the inevitable afternoon thunderstorms flowed through the area, reading or just holding each other.

Days became cooler but invigorating. We went for long walks in the local community park. Gentle breezes rustled the trees. An occasional leaf would float to the ground. Children joined us in the afternoon when their school day finished.

The Town Fair this year lifted our spirits with Pumpkin carving contests, family-oriented contests of skill and strength, the twisting maze through the harvest-ready cornfields, and thrilling carnival rides. The fair marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the holiday season. I tried to keep up a good front, but my world was marching toward a coldness that was bone-deep.

A log crackled in the fireplace and I was brought back to the present. “I really don’t like this you know. My world is frigid when you are gone.”

“We have discussed this. Two years ago you moved here from Florida.  You found me and embraced who I am. You know every year I am compelled to leave around this same time, I must leave. I have things I need to do, things I can’t do here. You promised me you could accept everything. I have always returned and will always return to you as soon as I am allowed. You have to accept the idea I have to go away. I have no choice.” This argument has been the same recurring cycle for the last two years.

Two days later, the local weatherman gave an all-clear to the storm front which crawled past us over the last week. With halted steps, I made my way along the mulch-lined brown brick walkway, the leaves snapping under my feet, to the main leaf-covered sidewalk. I stopped racking a long time ago. Reaching the cement path I wrapped my wool coat tighter around me. The biting cold wind whirled around my legs. It picked up the colorful leaves on the ground and made small cyclones all around me. The skeletons of the Oak trees, lining both sides of the street, continually added to the shower of leaves, with each strong breath of wind.

My eyes went back to the view in front of me. She was putting distance between us. It was strange how you could expect something to happen, know it would happen, but when the time came pain would knife through you. Even with the past two weeks of disagreements, misunderstandings, and huddles on the couch, this was inevitable. Her flowing auburn hair glowed with brown and red highlights, as the weak light filtered through the few holes in the clouds.

Somehow my legs let me stand there trying to keep warm, watching her add distance to our love. Every step took her farther from me and the life I thought we were building. The only hope, I desperately held onto, was her promise she would return after she took care of the cold stormy days which were threatening her ability to stay with me. I pleaded and begged for her to let me help, but she wouldn’t allow it. She told me the next couple of months of her life were too dangerous for anyone but her to trudge through.

I felt a chill run down my spine when she told me she would survive, but everything would be changed when she returned to me as it was every year. She couldn’t tell me if the differences would be bad or good. All she would say was we would learn from any rough patches thrown our way. I turned up the collar on my jacket snuggling into the woven fibers tighter as the wind grew colder and the leaves flew higher. Placing my gloved hands under my arms, I kept my eyes glued to the silhouette of my present and hopefully my future. I needed to trust her, she whispered in my ear before she started the walk.

The corner of the street was in front of her. She stopped.

“Turn around love, please,” I silently begged the powers above. 

She turned and our eyes locked. With one small wave, she turned the corner. My heart splintered. What was I to do? The wind was frigid and a snow flurry started to fall. My world was cold. The most important part of my world turned another corner. Autumn, my true love, left me standing alone.

I turned and walked slowly back into the house. The only thing I could do now was to believe her parting promise to return and warm my life.
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