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The crimson leaf falls as if in slow motion toward the hard packed dirt of the playground. Who knows if you could even call it that. Nowadays, this section of land is adorned with only a rotting bench, weeds crawling their way up each leg, and a solitary swing. It sways steadily in the autumn wind, creaking and groaning with every movement. The bright blue pigmentation of its seat is the lone pop of color for miles, the ray of light in the vast void that is this world. It swings on as if reaching out into the cold night air, yearning and clawing at the past, wishing to travel back to the days of children and picnics and color, color everywhere.

And the marble stones. Oh, yes the grim, white boulders. Looming, hanging over us, clinging to us like a needy toddler, refusing to let us heal from past wounds. These stones rub salt mercilessly in the cuts I have so gingerly stitched. They tear at my heart with their moonlight shadows. I’m not saying I want to forget her. Trust me, I don’t. I just - I just - I want to put it all behind me. The piercing screams in quiet stillness of the black night. The blue gowns and white walls. The seizures that raked her body, toying with her like a sadistic puppeteer. The times of hope when survival seemed possible. The bald heads. The support groups. The beeping machines that with a single hush went still.

City Council decided years ago that a playground was unnecessary to our town’s well-being. So, they put a cemetery. Way to keep us elated, y’all.

Fall is the time when the fluttering leaves ride the lazy winds to their deaths. Fall is the time when the cold seeps into our daily lives, finding its way into our hearts and freezing them over. Fall is the time of death. I pray spring comes soon. God knows the next death in my solitary life is my own.



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