Autumn Leaves

Autumn could not pull her eyes away from the window. Outside the bare trees stood like naked guardians to the oncoming Winter, all their leaves staining the ground with a bloody tapestry. Their stark branches twisted into the grey sky like barren skeletal reminders of life against an oncoming apocalypse.

This was an inflection point, a transition point. A moment of change as even the faintest warmth left the world and harsh, unforgiving cold smothered everything including memory.

“It is time,” he softly said behind her. She had not heard him enter the room and she slowly turned to face him. His face was unreadable but his eyes belied the turmoil, “Autumn, it is time to go.”

She smiled sadly and let go of the window while resisting sighing. Some moments did not need to be declared. Some moments could be felt without punctuation.

“She would have preferred a warm Summer’s day,” she said walking across to him, he reached out to her and, when she took his hand, he gently squeezed hers. Some moments needed no punctuation.

“We all prefer warm Summer days,” he said, his eyes sad, “But that is not the way life happens, or ends.”

She smiled, trying to reassure him that she was fine and slipped his arm around her, nestling her head into the crook of his neck. He smelt warm, like pine trees in a forest somewhere far from here. He put his other arm around her and softly squeezed, resting his head on hers while she closed her eyes trying not to think.

They quietly stood like this for a moment–silent guardians before the apocalypse–before he straightened and repeated, “It is time, Autumn. We must go. They are all waiting and we must get there before the snow falls.”

“Yes,” she mumbled into his chest, finally sighing deeply, “Yes, it is time.”

She knew it was. Outside there were no more leaves left to fall and, as Winter rolled in, Autumn left.