Autumn. When the trees start to lose the burden of their leaves, and show their true and magnificent forms once more.
When the last bits of summer are blown away leaf by leaf.
It was autumn when I moved here. And it was autumn when I last saw you.
In my mind it was a clear day, with golden light flickering on the many-coloured leaves as they fell. Probably the reality was that the golden light flickered for just a moment, but it’s that moment I’ll remember.
And we kicked the leaves as we walked. Well, you kicked them. And then I joined in, because you reminded me that leaves should be kicked. As often as they can.
You told me that you were going away. You didn’t say where and I didn’t ask. But I knew you’d be back days or weeks later, with tales of your adventures. Or I thought I knew.
You’d turn up at my door and we’d go out walking – to the end of the road, to the park, anywhere. And you’d tell me tales – or half-tales – in your not-quite-innocent, straightforward way, full of triviality and truth.
And then the letter came, and I knew you wouldn’t.
And I remembered that autumn day, and the other days I’d spent with you. Kicking leaves and running down alleys. Sitting in the park with a bag of weed and a can of cider, and maybe a portion of chips between us - talking about childhood, and spaceships, and what it would be like if we were totally on our own in the world.
Now, I remember the other times too. The things half-said or not said, and the things I ignored because to think about them properly would have been too hard. Sitting in the park when all the chips had gone, wondering how we might get more, and talking about broken dreams, and darkness, and what it feels like to be totally on your own in the world. And even when you were with me, you were alone.
What was it you asked me, about the darkness in the world? I didn’t know, then, quite how dark your darkness was. And I guess I said something that I thought was deep, but which couldn’t have begun to answer the question. And when I felt closest to you, you probably never felt further away.
And if you were here to tell your story, the moments you’d choose to describe wouldn’t be the ones that I remember. But you chose the ending, and I’ll choose to remember that golden autumn day, when the world was bedding down for winter, and we were kicking leaves.
© Lucy Peacock 2014