As I am walking to the train station this morning a tiny flash of something bright falls just outside of my vision. It is a small golden leaf that lands on my shoulder. Being in my favorite season, I smile at the thought of autumn in New York City coming to its glory. I start to simply flick it off and go on about my day, but it somehow lands in my palm instead.
Then the heart does the one thing nothing else can do – make time stop for a moment as I am transported back some twenty years into the past.
It is a Sunday evening, the last night of an impromptu weekend trip with my late-husband to the Poconos. He is inside refreshing a drink. I am outside in my underwear leaning on the porch rail enjoying the view of the mountains that are basked in the warm bright colors of early sunset that washed the autumn foliage before me in rich shades before the sun reaches the ochre and indigo phases of its descent. With the annoying ability to walk on cat feet when he chooses to I do not hear him approach, but the heat from the eternal furnace that is his body reaches me just before he does and I turn to face him. He has on even less than I, and by the easy smile playing along his lips I am well aware of how much he likes what he sees before him. Wordlessly, he takes a slow sip of his drink as he reaches up to pull something from my hair and let it go. I extend my hand and a small golden leaf falls onto my open palm. It rests only for a moment before he gently blows it away and steps into my arms to kiss me. I remember wishing that we had more time there to enjoy ourselves before heading back to reality.
And reality reasserts itself back into my current life as a warm gust of air gently blows the fallen leaf from my palm.
It felt so eerily like his breath on my palm from that long ago evening; I shivered in remembrance. I have been trying to shake it off all morning, but here I am decades after the fact, hours after the memory, wishing I could once again enjoy the taste of Black Label on his lips.
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