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The Leaf, the Face, the Her, the Me

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The leaf, the face, the her, the me. The faded crimson sun glowed in retrospect across a sliver of a horizon lined with unclear silver linings. It was the time of day when the sky blended into an in between. The vague and blurred lines of time warped themselves to stay still, floating in the air, as if the golden grandfather clock of the world stopped turning its gears. In this atmosphere, in the serenity of the gods and the feeling of perfection and the possibility of slight belief in the afterlife, she broke me.
--

The leaf. Autumn. As leaves shed off of ungrateful and unrelenting trees, freeing themselves, so did my heart. They say that right before death, one has a sudden burst of energy and explosion, as leaves do when they change into deep red violets and dark coral oranges singed with bright marigolds. So was the fate of my incompetent and naïve psyche, filled with innocent thoughts of love and lust. There she stood, one single crisp leaf in her dark smooth hair. It floated gently onto her head, almost as to not disturb her invisible halo encircling her pale angel-white forehead. I quietly and shyly plucked the leaf out of her hair and lightly touched her face with a nervous hand. That was our first kiss, the first of many. As the leaf obeyed gravity and dropped to the speckled pavement like a feather, my heart defied it and soared into my throat.
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The face. Her face. Her beautiful, pale, porcelain, celestial face. The soft curvature of her high strung and defined cheeks and jaw bone. The pale pink of her narrow lips as they silently turned to form a perfect sideways smile. Her cheeks were singed with a slight healthy flush and her eyes were a deep chocolate brown. Her hair had been longer when we first met; she claimed that she needed change. But she didn’t know that I missed running my fingers through her hair.
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The her. The laugh that rang through the air long after the joke had been stated. Her personality filled the room and diffused any tangible tension or unease. She was reserved yet expressive, her movements flowed with extensive grace and complete wholeness. As she slipped on her ballet shoes in her mother’s old dance studio, she came to life. It was always after closing time in the summer, when the old metal fan beat heartlessly with age and complaint. The air conditioning barely worked, yet the air was just right. Through the half-closed blinds of the dusty windows, threads of sunlight silently streamed through to reveal defined thin lines of shadows across her face. The window was always slightly open and the sound of children playing and lawnmowers running flooded the room in a quiet yet harmonious cacophony. She danced for herself, and only for herself. She did not know the technicality of her steps, but she nonetheless took her mother’s withered shoes from the bedroom drawer and practiced. Here I peered through the windows, eyeing her precious moments in clandestine and reveling in the innocent glory of an innocent girl.
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The me. The me that remained. The pieces of my crumbled being that were left to drench themselves in sadness and remorse when she left. The feeling of sorrow engulfed my body, mind, and soul. The sobs that caved into my ribcage and made the sounds that no man should ever have to hear. I had reached a bottomless pit of hatred and disgust for the other man. The one that could hold her and kiss her forehead as I did not too long ago. The lush greens of spring could not drown out the harsh reality that I knew had happened. Rain fell, and so summer came again. And her mother’s dancing shoes stood untouched in the burgundy drawer with the golden lion-shaped clasp. For she now had another to help occupy her time and show her the remains of a world that had become unfocused on beauty.
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I am not a man, I am not a woman. I am not a palpable human being. I am not a human being at all. I do not have a body, and some argue that I do not have a soul. I have kissed the cheeks of many and I have felt the touch of all. Yet I chose the touch of her, her kiss and her feel. But I was once again no match for the beings of reality that she could physically hold and could in turn hold her. I am only the wind who fell in love with a woman who only left me with the leaf, the face, the her, the me.





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