Short story: The Fall

There he is again, sitting in my shade on this still fall afternoon. Is it really him? Or is it another brown-haired man? It’s so hard to tell, they all look the same to me from so up high. He seems peaceful today. Last time he was pacing back and forth running a rut in the fresh soil. He was here in the spring last time. It has been a long time. Long time for him, too long for me. I’m not sure how much longer my days here will last. I was very small and naive when he first showed up, his brown-hair disheveled, his shirt half tucked into his trousers and his face contorted in deep thought. Now my sight is broken, chewed away by the natural process of life. I can hardly make out the expression on his face this time although I feel that it is sad.

Not long ago, some men wearing yellow hats came underneath us and installed an odd wooden seat that I’ve heard others call a “bench.” It was a windy day when the bench was put in and many of us fell onto the men with yellow hats only to be crushed by their big feet. That was after the man had first arrived. This time he looked at the bench, chuckled and then sat down on it. I wondered what he was laughing at.

The man’s laugh was heartwarming but sorrowful for he went back to being silent and staring at the ground. After a time he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small rectangular object that produced a fake light, a light that was painful to look at. I had to look away the entire time that he held it in his hand. We could hear footsteps but they weren’t the footsteps I was used to of the men who had come before. These were different, a different kind I hadn’t heard before.

No, I had heard them before, I’d heard them back in the spring before the rain came. The man stood up and greeted the woman with a hug. Her high heels stopped click-clacking when she took a step off of the pavement and onto the warm earth into the man’s embrace. I didn’t need to see their expressions to know they were happy and not sad after all. I felt a joy, a gladness rise up in my soul that made me shut out everything else.

I let go when I felt a strong breeze coming in for it was my time to go. Without saying goodbye, I let go and let the breeze take hold of me, guiding me on my way down. It was a peaceful tumult as the wind whisked me hither and thither causing me to float forwards and backwards in a graceful scattered pattern till I rested on the wood bench.

I looked up at the tree and saw that it was nearly bare and all my friends were no longer there. I wondered what had happened to the man and the woman who I had felt such a bond to many seasons ago. I knew in that moment that I would have liked to say goodbye to everyone and that I would like to see the brown-haired man and the woman in high heels who made the man happy. I wanted to greet them and thank them for the happiness that they had given me but I couldn’t see them. Although there was one thing I could see. Even though I was brown and riddled with holes I could still make out the inscription “There should be a bench here—” and instead of a signature there was a sparkling object which glittered in the sunlight.