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Orange Leaf

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She holds her hand tightly, small stubby fingers wrapped around larger pale ones. The little girl with the light brown hair looks up at the other girl, a smile on her face. Her eyes showed much happiness, the blue in them lighting up and shining like the ocean. The older girl looks down at the younger, a calm yet almost uneasy smile on her face. The smaller girl wraps her hand tighter around the other girls hand, chuckling lightly.
“ I thought you had left for good, Ry.” She said, swinging her hand gently in hers, “ you're not leaving again, are you Riley?”
Riley looks down at her, her almost grey eyes looking tired and worn out. She doesn't answer, but the look she gives the girl was enough to make her stop in her tracks. She lets go of her hand, staring at her with those blue, blue eyes again. Riley wishes she had such lovely coloured eyes again.
The two girls stand out in a field, the sun setting over across at the horizon. Riley had lead Jesse out behind her father's farm, to the freshly harvested wheat field. There was a lingering smell of dead leaves from the surrounding woods, the trees standing in the remaining sunlight, their orange leaf colour reminding Riley that all things die and fall. But, new lively green ones grow back, live and let die, she guesses.
“ Ry?” Jesse brakes through to her thoughts, her eyes laden with tears. “ You're leaving?”
“ I can't leave if I've already left, Jesse.” Riley says, her voice dropping to a lower level in sadness. Jesse stares at her, she reaches out a small hand and touches her arm gently.
“ But, you never left.” Jesse mutters, looking up at her, “ not since the tractor accident. Ma and Pa say you're gone, but they just don't see you, yet.”
“ They won't see me, Jess.” Riley admits, “ I'm dead. My heart doesn't beat, I don't breathe, I don't sleep. I'm just energy, now.”
Jesse clenches her arm tighter, “ Then how come I can touch you, Ry?” She tugs on her arm as if that were going to prove that Riley was still alive and standing in the field with her. She looks up at her, seeing the frown on her sister's face.
“ That's because you're dreaming, Jesse.” She said, reaching out and messing the little girl's hair, “ you know those trees Pa keeps out in the orchid?”
Jesse nods.
“ You know how the leaves change colour in the Fall months?” Riley continues, “ and eventually they fall, and die? I'm an orange leaf, Jesse.” Riley strokes her hair again, “ and I've fallen from the tree, and I'm just waiting for the wind to blow me away.”
Jesse stares at her, her eyebrows pulling together, “ so, you're leaving? For good this time?”
Riley nods, “ but it'll only be for a little while. I promise, when the time comes, I'll meet you on the other side.”
“ I love you Ry.” Jesse whispers, hugging her sister. Riley wraps her arms around her little sister, burying her face in her hair.
“ I love you too, Jess. You tell Ma and Pa I love them too, okay?” Riley asks, pulling back as Jesse nods her head. Riley gives her a tearful smile as she turns, she waves at her over her shoulder as she walks towards the sun. The yellow and white rays slowly engulfing her form until it's just Jesse and the setting sun. She gazes at the pink and orange shy before she turns and heads back to her home.
Every sunset, Jesse thinks of Riley, and she hopes somewhere far from there, Riley thinks of her too.



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