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Leaves, Gravity

A gust of November wind suddenly swept across the boy’s back porch, making him have to zip up his fleece and re-locate his place in his textbook. He had come home for Thanksgiving break the day before and realized he’d been spoiled by the quiet libraries of the University and sought refuge from a full house outside. He had a paper due about Caesar and The Ides of March due when he returned, and wanted to finish early. So, for almost two hours, his eyes, and their dark circles underneath, remained focused on Livy while the afternoon sun found its way around the clouds and shone across the yard.

Not long after that, the sliding glass doors which led to the kitchen slid open, allowing the blank noise of a televised sporting event to pour into the yard from its levee momentarily, causing the boy to turn and see his little sister outside the door, shutting it behind her. She turned back towards him, her 11 year-old eyes bright and wonderful, and ran to the chair where he was working.


“Hey! You want to play frisbee with me?” He sighed and looked back down at the page.

“You don’t even have a coat on... what's going on inside?”

“Nothing, I’m just bored!” He sighed, and looked at her, shivering with both excitement and cold-she hadn’t known how cold it was out, but was too anxious for the possibility of play that she did not care.

“Well, I guess we could for a few minutes.”

The corners of her mouth suddenly gave way to a smile as she ran to the corner of the yard, where she had left the yellow disc after some other day of playing. Nearly diving, she picked it up and quickly hurled it at her brother, who had only just stepped off the porch.

“C’mon not so hard on the next one okay? Just throw it normal, sis.”

“Okay!” She didn’t catch the return throw, but still managed to dive for it anyway. The next throw to her older brother was almost as hard, and landed about 10 feet to the right of him. She apologized through a giggle.

“You need to aim it, okay?” He walked over silently and picked it back up. “Now watch how I do it.” He threw it perfectly to her and she caught it. Taking a moment to examine the frisbee, she held it up to the sun, and its light shone through it, casting a awe-inspiring gold glow upon her which, to her dismay, couldn’t stay because of a sudden overcasting.

Another gust of wind caused many of the few remaining leaves on the surrounding trees to fall to the ground, drifting slowly above the yard until gravity had run its course. The boy tapped his foot and looked back at the table with his book and his notes. His little sister finally removed the frisbee from her face, then, grinning slyly at her brother, threw the frisbee across the whole yard and into the neighbor’s, stopping under a tall Maple. Seeing the a hue of frustration beginning to take hold of her brother’s face, she hid her laughter into her elbow.

Most of the tree’s leaves laid in a pile, which formed a three-inch layer above the grass, below the nakedness of the branches. He looked back at his sister impatiently, and then trudged across the yard to the toy. Stepping into his neighbors yard, and under their tree, the dehydrated ground under him crunched, leaving stems in his trail. After two steps he looked down. The leaves where still gold for the most part, many showing brown-dotted signs of the season ending. He looked back up and took another two steps. His feet’s pestling of the leaves caused their scents to be released, and the host of vapors ascended from the earth in near song and floated up into the boy’s nostrils. He stopped. His head momentarily swooned as he took in the smell of the leaves-it was warm, smelling like wood and old volumes, a smell which had been buried in the deepest recesses of his memory, but now came ringing back, like the linear pitch of a dusty organ now suspended in the forefront of his consciousness, behind the bridge of his nose. Standing there for a few moments, with a sad smile upon his face, he then knelt down and took some up in his hands, rubbed them together and smelled again. His sister then said something, but he didn’t seem to hear it. She tried again.

“What are you doing?”


“Nothing-I just forgot...what the leaves smelled like in the fall when you...” His voice trailed off and he smiled that same melancholy grin. His little sister walked across the yard to him. “Can’t you smell It?” He asked her, with wistful eyes.

“No...you’re werid! I’m going inside now!” the little girl turned around and ran back to the sliding doors. She stared at her brother through the glass for a brief time and then disappeared.

He stood there for another couple minutes, every once in a while picking up and dropping each foot. A gravity-stricken leaf landed upon his shoulder and, brushing it off gently, looked for a moment, up into the sky, and, squinting, caught what seemed to be the beginning of twilight.





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