Autumn

October 19, 2012
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It’s a cold morning. The leaves are beginning to disappear and the bright green grass is starting to fade. I can feel the crisp air sneaking in through the cracks of my old, wooden window as I quietly stand looking out. Although the cold winter makes me sad and lonely, it also brings along a sense of comfort and security. I get anxious just remembering the walks I liked to take on those cool evenings with being comfortable in just a light jacket and a pair of old jeans. The memory of those walks is vivid now and I can almost feel the bitter air nipping at my nose.

I continue looking out my window, watching the new family across the street move in. The man in the house before had passed away in his bedroom randomly one night over a year ago. The for-sale sign in the yard had been placed there generously by one of his neighbors but no one had the heart (or the nerve) to buy the house before now. I wonder if this new family is familiar with what happened. I continue watching and see a typical American family carrying large brown boxes into the almost abandoned looking mansion. It really is a gross house and you can tell that no one has been there to keep up with it. The moldy yellow paint is crumbling off and the porch steps are going to collapse at any moment. There’s a big black SUV that looks odd and uncomfortable in the driveway of the aged house. A young couple and their two kids, maybe only 6 or 7 years old, are in the front yard. I guess maybe I could offer to babysit; I could use the extra cash.

The dad has a thick, brown mustache that is too big for his face. He’s tall and weirdly skinny. He looks familiar to me but I can’t figure out how or why I would know him. I brought a stool to my window now and shoved a towel in the crack to keep the chilled air out. There is something intriguing about the way this family is acting. Not only is there no moving truck but not even a friend or any family helping to carry in the boxes.

The telephone starts to ring and I reach down off my stool to grab it. “Call from…Mom” the phone speaks.
“Hi, mom” I say. I sit back up on the stool and fix the towel at the bottom of the window. “Ugh, mom why can’t we get these cracks fixed in the window?” I ask. I can’t get the towel to fit right and the cold air keeps entering, spreading goose bumps all over me. I glance back up and look out the window back towards the family. They are staring. All of them. At me.

I drop the phone first and then I drop myself immediately to the floor. “Mom I have to call you later, bye” and I slam the phone down on the receiver. My heart is racing while I’m laying flat on the floor hoping that no part of my body is visible. Why were they staring at me?” My hands are sweating and after a few minutes (it feels like hours) I decide that I can’t stay here forever and slowly start to peak my head up. My head is shaking and my eyes are locked tight. “What am I going to do if they are still staring” I swallow hard and raise one eye over the frame of the window to glance towards the mansion.
Nothing.
“Oh thank god!” I mutter and a fast sigh spews out as my lungs finally collapse. “What freaks, forget the babysitting offer.” I stand up now and pick up the stool deciding that I am done watching anything outside.
“DINNNGG DONNNG!”

My heart drops to my stomach and I let go of the stool. “Who could that be?” At first I plan on pretending that I am not home but its Saturday morning, where else would I be? And after all, if it’s my new neighbors, they already know I am home…

I walk over to the front door and place my shaking hand on the gold handle. I wait there awhile and finally take a deep breath hoping that it is just the mail man or a couple of girls selling cookies. I pull the heavy door open and there he is; my new neighbor with his giant bushy mustache screaming out at me. I give a wimpy smile through the glass door and awkwardly wave.
You can tell he is waiting for me to open the door as he leans in towards the entryway and loudly speaks, “Hi, can you hear me through the door? I’m your new neighbor, but I think you already know that. Can I come in, please? I have some questions about our new house that maybe you can answer”.

My heart is pounding so loud I’m sure his wife across the street can hear it. I know the whole deal with “stranger danger” but he is going to be my new neighbor. He is creepy enough I don’t want to get on his bad side.
“Sure, we can just sit out here on my porch.” I decide. At least this way everyone on my street can see us. I open the door and take a step out. Not thinking beforehand I remember now that I only have a small white bench on our porch. I take a seat and he sits down next to me his knees hitting mine. I can’t figure out if he did this on purpose or if it really is because the bench is so small. Either way, he seems almost to calm to be sitting next to a 17 year old girl. I unfortunately get a great view of him now. His eyes are very dark and I avoid making eye contact with him. He smells like a mixture of breath mints, vodka, and cheap cologne.

Things are starting to get weird now. He starts giving me the stare his entire family gave me earlier through the window. He’s not speaking or asking me any questions. “What the hell is wrong with this guy?” He smiles and places his hand upon my leg. His hand is so hot on my leg it feels like it’s leaving a mark. He still has not said a word. His hand starts grabbing at my leg squeezing it so tightly that it starts to hurt.
“Ow!” I scream. “Stop it! That hurts!” He continues to squeeze my leg as I look back up towards his face to see nothing but a peaceful, breathless, face staring back at me.

A Silver Camry pulls into my driveway and I yell “Mom!!” He releases his hand from my leg but does not stand up to follow me. I sprint up to her window and a confused look fills her face as she looks beyond me. I can feel him. His breath is so loud in my ears I know that he is right behind me. He places his hand upon my shoulder and says,
“It was nice meeting you, Megan.” He then returns walking back down the street to his molding mansion with his lonely family and big SUV.





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