(originally from November 2007)
Cotton candy clouds floated above the landscape, thick and colored gray like something dead. Beneath them trees clawed the sky; naked branches were bony fingers stripped of flesh. A cold wind shook loose the last of the autumn leaves and sent them to mingle with the driving rain.
She stared through the window and watched the heavy drops drip down the glass; each one a tear she couldn’t shed. Thunder pounded relentlessly and lightning cut through the haze in streaks that left a brilliant gash in her vision like a scar; only it faded much faster.
She lifted a hand to touch the window, but stopped just before her palm made contact. The rain was outside and she was in. Its closeness was only an illusion, like so many others. So many people she thought she was close to but, when she needed them, she discovered that chasms separated them and that she was alone.
Her throat felt thick and she dropped her hand uselessly to her lap. Her eyes followed, but stopped at the empty wine goblet on the sill. The faintest trace of burgundy liquid remained in the bottom in a tiny, sticky pool. It reminded her at once of blood, red and congealing, like the blood slowly running down her arms.
Her eyes flicked once more to the window. Outside darkness gathered, and she wondered one more time where he was. Was he in the arms of another? Was he alive? Dead? Was he happy? God, how she hoped he was happy. She hoped her pain had bought something for someone; that her destruction had been for something.
The glass rattled in the frame and a cold wet leaf slapped against it; plastered flat with its edges fluttering. She traced the intricate lines of the leaf’s underside with her eyes. Each miniscule vein that had once given it life was now empty of chlorophyll, brown, withered and useless.
But even dead the leaf was beautiful: a rich orange with a patina of golden brown. It hung, seemingly suspended in air, dead and yet miraculous. How many times in her life had the sight of dead leaves blowing cheered her? The drifts of bright colors signaled the end of heat and the beginning of the frozen winter when white snow would fall to blanket the world in its cleansing purity.
She lifted her tingling arm and looked at the bleeding gash. She was like this leaf, though she still clung to the tree of life by a sender stem, waiting only for the final wind to shake her loose. When it did she would drift away and leave behind a corpse, paving the way for the next step when she’d go to the great beyond. There her soul would be bathed clean of everything and reborn; whole, pure and cleansed, like the untouched snow.
A soft smile flitted across her lips and she pressed her hand against the window, numb fingers splayed to match the leaf’s shape. She let her last tear fall, and then closed her eyes, at peace with her chosen fate. Yes, she would die and she would be reborn, and the pure white snow on her soul would once again be tainted by the touch of man, trampled by children’s thoughtlessness, the peace and tranquility ruined by the noise of the rabble, but it didn’t matter. Everything had its season and its place and right now she was ready to start the next one – right now she was the leaf.
Fav Song of the Moment – All the same – Sick Puppies
(check out Sue’s blog – http://sassyspeaks.wordpress.com/)