The sky was overcast, and the coldness of the air filled my lungs with pain. The shadow of the darkened clouds loomed over the whole city; and a wave of melancholy swept into my heart.
As I continued to stroll along the sidewalk, a slight drizzle began to descend from the dark sky. Usually this type of weather would comfort me, but at that moment it only added to the sadness in my heart.
I walked for another half mile along the main road, and then I turned right onto a narrow road that led up to the hill. The trees along the road were shedding leaves at a very quick rate, as if to symbolize that the days of warmth had passed- and that the winter days had begun. The scenery of the old road brought back invaluable memories I had made here, with many of my close friends. But the memories I cherished most were spent with the person who meant the world to me.. Her name is Past.
The memories managed to bring a smile to my face (and I hadn’t smiled for the whole day). Past was the girl that could make me happy on my worst days. Her embrace gave me more warmth than a blazing fire on Christmas Eve, her gaze healed whatever pain I had in my heart. This was exactly why I was heading down this narrow road, to see her again. I knew that a couple hours spent with her would erase all the discomfort dwelling inside of me.
As I was engulfed in nostalgia regarding my time spent with Past; I didn't notice that I had already passed her house. When I finally managed to snap out of my reverie, I immediately turned around and jogged towards her house.
Her driveway was filled with brown leaves that had fallen from the surrounding trees. One of the windows of her house was shattered, and her front door was wide open. The sight of this alarmed me, and I hurried into her house.
The room inside the front door was also covered in fallen, deciduous leaves. I continued to search around her house, and the whole place was in disarray. With great concern, I ran up to her room.
To my great surprise, her room was also filled with the fallen leaves of the trees around her house. Past was laying in her bed, and her face was extremely pale. Her body seemed to lack any energy whatsoever. She saw me in her room, and she gave me a weak smile. “You came.” Past whispered softly.
“Are you okay?!” I exclaimed. “What happened to you? There’s something gravely wrong. I’m calling emergency services.” I quickly reached for my phone as I attempted to dial 911.
“Stop.” she said softly. I looked at her with a gaze of disbelief. “Please don’t call anyone.” Past said. “They can’t fix me. Please don’t call them.”
“No. You NEED help. I’m calling them, help should be here soon.” I dialed the number, then I held the phone to my ear.
To my great surprise, Past ripped the phone away from my hands. “Listen to me.” she whimpered. “Please.”
At that moment I was simply perplexed; I could not understand why Past didn’t want help. It looked like she was dying! Anyways, I couldn’t find myself to resist her order any further. I just stood there in the room, looking at her frail composure. I was in a loss of words.
“Come sit beside me.” Past whispered. I slowly approached her bed, and I gently sat beside her pillow. She extended her hand to me, and I embraced it.
“Look at me.” Past said. “Can you hand me one of those brown leaves on the floor?”
“Of course.” I responded. I picked one of the fragile leaves and I gave it to her.
“Do you remember when we would sit down under those trees?” Past asked as she twirled the leaf in her hand. I responded, “Of course. I enjoyed being with you more than anything.”
“Do you remember what color the leaves were then?” Past asked.
“Green.” I responded. “Vivid, light green.”
“Correct.” she said. “I remember how we gazed at those trees together. Good memories.” Past began to smile and she began to squeeze my hand a little bit tighter.
“These trees were where we made all our memories.” Past said. She chuckled as she tightened her grip even more slightly. “The trees beside the street represented our bond in a way, am I right?” she asked.
“I guess so.” I responded. I wasn’t too sure where she was going with this. But I continued to listen to her talk.
“Hmm.. let me reword that.” Past said. “You are my tree.”
I had completely lost her there. “Can you please explain?”
“Of course.” Past replied. “You know how during the spring, the barren trees begin to grow leaves again? As if to signify the end of the winter? It’s truly a beautiful process. A leaf is brought to existence by the tree. From that point forward, the tree gives the leaf a constant supply of life, and the leaf and the tree grows together. It’s truly an exceptional phenomenon.”
Past paused to see my reaction. I looked at her with a perplexed look on my face. “Can you see the connection now?” she asked. “You are my tree. I am your leaves.” She smiled at me after announcing this. She continued to twirl the brown leaf on her other hand.
“I think I’m starting to get where you’re coming from. Please continue.” I replied.
She coughed weakly, and she cleared her throat. Then she stated, “You helped me become the person I am today. You helped me truly enjoy and prosper in my existence. And after you helped me find myself, you just kept giving and giving and giving me the energy to continue. As we began to get closer, it was as if our bond was like a tree thriving in the summer. Everything we did together was so meaningful and full of life; everything seemed to be so perfect. And it was truly perfect.”
I began to feel the emotions swelling up in my heart. “It was indeed perfect.” I said. “I feel the same way towards you. I love you.” I reached in and hugged her gently, I did not want to hurt her. We embraced each other for a considerable amount of time, and her scent brought me so much peace inside of me. I realized that I really was crazy for this girl.
After we embraced, Past continued. “Now, you see what the color of the leaves are now?”
Panic just took over my mind. I did not like where her narration was headed. “What are you trying to say?”
“Remember that I am your leaves, love. I have turned brown. It’s time for me to go.” Past whispered.
“NO!” I exclaimed. “Just let the paramedics come! They can fix you up easily! Do you want to die?” I began to tear up in frustration and pure concern.
“I don’t think the paramedics are good at curing terminal diseases.” Past replied. “It’s time for me to go.”
I began to break down into tears. “Don’t leave me.” I whimpered “please…” My heart was exploding with pain.
Past began to tear up as well. “Don’t forget that I love you so much. And don’t forget that you are a blessing in this world, whether I am with you or not.”
I couldn’t stop crying. Her complexion by that time was nearly absent of any color whatsoever, yet she was the one comforting me.
“It’s okay to miss me.” Past said. “It’s okay to have pain that I am gone. It’s okay to remember me. But when I’m gone, don’t forget to shed your leaves.”
She coughed with all her might, as she was losing life by the minute. “If brown leaves didn’t fall of the tree it had came from, the tree cannot replenish. The tree cannot grow. But once the tree sheds its leaves and enters the winter stage, it is preparing for another cycle of growth ahead. The tree will always remember the leaf, but the tree will not hold on to it. Those who hold onto things that are no longer there cannot grow. And you.. you must grow.” Past said. She let out a sigh after that statement. Those were her last words. You. Must. Grow.
“You must grow.” I said with a shaky voice. “You must grow.”
I took the brown leaf in her deceased hand and I gently placed it in my pocket. I then reached down and held her hand to feel as much remaining warmth she had in her.
I wanted to cry beside her until the day I died. I knew that I would never fully recover from Past’s loss. But I knew that Past didn’t want me to suffer for the rest of my life. Despite the pain, I promised myself that I would do everything in my power to fulfill her wish.