avid shuffled through the noisy leaves resting on the cracked,
cement sidewalk. "Dead leaves," his teacher Ms. Gavin had told his
class last year. The leaves all die in the fall, she had said.
David thought it peculiar that leaves turned such vibrant, passionate
colors when they died. David watched as the bright leaves, now free
from their confining branches, turned somersaults and cartwheels in
the wind. He wondered who exactly declared these leaves dead.
David thought about his mom. The caked-on powder makeup had made
her look paler than he had ever seen her. Paler even than on that
Tuesday in the hospital. The heavy red lipstick had perfectly
displayed the cracks in her dry, bound lips. Her cold forehead had
smelled like medicine.
More leaves blew by. A few paused on the ground, waiting for the
strong wind to provide a lift for take-off. Some pooled under the
mailboxes that lined the street, mingling with branches in the
David lay back on the damp sterile grass. The ground was stiff.
Blades of grass tickled at his neck and ears. He stretched his arms
up over his head, forming a pillow with the palms of his hands. He
concentrated on the sky, and for the first time that day, noticed the
abundant dark clouds that formed up ahead.
First published: October 1997