The Story of Fall

December 1, 2011
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I threw myself so hard into Fall that I didn’t have time to see December coming. Before I’d been sitting on the docks with my feet dangling in salty water. My eyes were closed. I felt content here, watching the pinks and oranges dance behind my lids. I plopped my big toe in the sea and watched a ripple form, bigger and bigger, never ending. I love the sea. I love the idea of mermaids and rosey coral breathing in the deep. Summer’s fingers were combing my hair, bleaching the curly ends out with sun. A seagull flew in the distance. A chill stirred in the air. Summer shivered.
“Fall’s coming,” Summer said, with eyes in slits. I threw myself up and peered around, to see if Fall was really there. But Fall was just a distant shadow, and like a bat circling the sky, soon vanished.
The chill left the air and Summer smiled again.
“C’mon,” Summer grabbed my hand, “We’re swimming.”
Summer jumped off the dock and I looked down at my hand, and it was so hot, it burned.
A week later I was under my bed, unearthing my backpack, along with a pile of dust. I sighed. I didn’t want school. I didn’t want gray desks and walls that looked like dirty snow. Across my room a window was open, and a gust flew in. Goosebumps peppered my arms. Fall.
I ran to the window and looked out, to see a single leaf drop from a tree. Fall was coming, and in that moment, standing barefoot on my carpet, I wanted Fall. I craved fallen leaves and cracked trees. I wanted a reason for Chap Stick and crisp air to lick. I ran outside because my legs were not mine anymore, they had desire throbbing in their veins. I found Fall’s dark outline slouched against a tree, just watching me. I froze. I didn’t move closer, because the sun was about to set. Mothers voice sang across the yard, saying I needed sleep. Fall grinned, and vanished in the knotted forest. That night I pulled my sheets to my throat, trying to stop a chill I couldn’t shake.
School started and I couldn’t concentrate. Sitting in math wasn’t about x and y; it was about Fall next to me. Fall had walked in the first day and claimed a seat close to mine without even a look in my direction. But now, Fall couldn’t stop staring. And even though I didn’t mean to, I felt myself staring too. I noticed how Fall always had hands and feet covered, caked, in dirt. I noticed how Fall’s eyes were stormy, a swirl of blues and grays that I wanted to reach out and touch, but Summer always grabbed my hand.
“Don’t do that,” Summer said. So I didn’t. See, Summer knew about boys. Summer knew about walking down sunsets holding hands, and about kissing with melting ice cream cone lips. Summer had her share of short-lived loves, and I’d had none. So I leaned my head on my still-tanned arms, and listened while the math teacher gargled equations.
I was by my locker when Summer started to shiver.
“I have to leave soon,” Summer said. I nodded. It was getting colder everyday. We both pressed our backs against a locker and sighed. Just then, Fall came stalking around a corner. Summer stiffened, like being struck with an ice pick. Fall came closer. I tried not to stare but I couldn’t help it, Fall and I locked eyes. Summer’s nails dug into my arm.
“When I leave, don’t go near that,” Summer said with a sneer. Fall stopped by a water fountain and bent down for a sip. Fall’s earth brown hair shifted, and ears were exposed. Fall was listening.
“I'll stay away,” I promised Summer. But it was a lie. Summer was too warm, too flowery, too sweet- and I was sick of the constant heat.
We walked outside, and Summer turned towards the direction of the beach.
“Bye Hazel,” Summer said, waving a bright hand. “I'll see you next year?”
“Of course,” I answered. I wanted to hug, but I knew I’d get a burn. So I waved goodbye to Summer, goodbye to freckles and sunny hair, and Summer fell away into the distance behind me. I’ll miss Summer. But then again, there’s no use missing what’s already gone.
My hike back home was lonely, and I decided to take the route through the trees. The smell of smoke glided through the air, while the leaves brushed my feet.
That’s when I felt it.
Fall breathing on my cheek.
I looked up and saw Fall there, eyes a huge storm and hair auburn. Fall gazed at me with a head cocked, and a dirty hand outstretched towards mine. I took it, without even hesitating. Fall led me deeper in the forest.
And after that, everything was a blur.
Fall always had a hand around my waist, palms big, resting on my hip. Fall had soft lips that brushed mine, and would linger until the moon called it a night. I knew I was falling deeper and deeper into Fall, and I didn’t care. And it wasn’t until December smacked me hard in the back, and I found Fall packing things to leave, that I realized I loved Him.

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